March 5, 2019 / 5:26 AM / 7 months ago

CORRECTED-Indian shares nearly flat; U.S. plans to end preferential trade treatment

(Corrects third paragraph to say India won’t discuss retaliatory duty issue with U.S., not that India has no plan to impose retaliatory tariffs)

* NSE index up 0.12 pct, BSE index 0.06 pct higher

* Metal stocks shine

* Infosys, Tech Mahindra fall

By Tanvi Mehta

March 5 (Reuters) - Indian shares were little changed on Tuesday as investors stayed away from making big bets, after U.S. President Donald Trump said he plans to scrap preferential trade treatment for India.

Trump looked set to open a new front in his trade wars with a plan to end preferential trade treatment for India that allows duty-free entry for $5.6 billion worth of the country’s exports to the United States.

India is keeping retaliatory duties out of its discussions with the United States, a top trade official said, adding that the withdrawal of the Generalised System of Preferences for Indian products would have limited impact.

“Some industries which are highly export-oriented to the American markets would be impacted like pharma or textiles. Indian markets aren’t seeing much triggers, elections aren’t too far,” said Siddharth Sedani, head equity advisory, Anand Rathi, referring to the country’s general election due by May.

The broader NSE index was up 0.12 percent at 10,876 as of 0503 GMT, while the benchmark BSE index was 0.06 percent higher at 36,084.82.

The trading sentiment took a beating last week amid heightened geopolitical tension with nuclear-armed neighbour Pakistan, but the situation appears to be easing.

The Nifty Metal index rose as much as 1.4 percent amid positive global sentiment in commodities.

Buying was seen in mid-cap stocks. The Nifty Mid-cap 100 index jumped as much as 1.2 percent, rising for the fourth consecutive session.

Stocks of IT companies, which count the United States as their largest market, took a hit. Infosys Ltd and Tech Mahindra Ltd were among the top drags on the NSE index, down 0.9 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively.

Auto stocks traded lower, following weak sales for February. Eicher Motors Ltd posted a 14.3 percent fall in motorcycle sales on Friday, sending its stock down as much as 3.1 percent on Tuesday.

Indian markets were shut on Monday for a public holiday. (Reporting by Tanvi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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