February 21, 2017 / 6:44 AM / 5 months ago

Indian shares steady around 5-month highs; telecoms fall

3 Min Read

* NSE index down 0.07 pct; BSE index 0.11 pct lower

* Nifty IT touches highest in nearly six months

* Bharti Airtel down over 2 pct

By Samantha Kareen Nair

Feb 21 (Reuters) - Indian shares hovered around five-month highs on Tuesday with telecoms declining ahead of an announcement by Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd while IT stocks extended gains following a share buyback plan by Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.

Sentiment was broadly cautious with Asian shares largely flat after a holiday in U.S. markets on Monday.

"Overall, the market has moved very marginally in the last few sessions and what it looks like now is a time-based correction with more stock-based moves," said Saurabh Jain, assistant vice-president of research at SMC Global Securities.

"Focus will now rest on global cues such as U.S. interest rates, dollar movement and foreign investment participation."

The broader NSE index was down 0.07 percent at 8,872.2 as of 0639 GMT after touching its highest since Sept. 9, 2016. The benchmark BSE index was 0.11 percent lower at 28,631.29.

Jio has not shared details of the announcement, but traders say the company will likely give an update on the number of subscribers it has added and also an update about its current plan to offer free data until the end of March.

Jio's free data offer has hit rivals, raising concerns about competition and margins in the sector. On Tuesday, Bharti Airtel was down 2.4 percent while Idea Cellular was 0.2 percent lower.

Meanwhile, Ambuja Cements Ltd fell as much as 2.8 percent in its biggest intraday percentage drop since Dec. 12, 2016 on weak December-quarter sales.

However, the Nifty IT index rose as much as 1.2 percent to its highest since Aug. 25, 2016 after TCS said on Monday it would buy back shares worth up to 160 billion rupees ($2.39 billion) at a substantial premium, raising expectations rivals such as Infosys would follow suit.

Tech Mahindra climbed 1.9 percent and HCL Technologies gained 1.4 percent, while TCS was down 0.3 percent.

Metal stocks also rose with Jindal Steel and Power Ltd gaining as much as 10 percent to its highest since June 3, 2015.

India on Monday extended anti-dumping duty on some steel products from China by five years, in a bid to retain protectionist barriers and stem the tide of cheap foreign products. ($1 = 66.8950 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Samantha Kareen Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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