February 27, 2018 / 6:51 AM / 3 months ago

Indian shares edge lower; banks weigh

* NSE index down 0.11 pct, BSE index 0.09 pct lower

* Oil explorers ONGC, Reliance gain

* Expect positive economic data - analyst

By Arnab Paul

Feb 27 (Reuters) - Indian shares edged lower on Tuesday, dragged by bank stocks after Punjab National Bank uncovered more fraudulent transactions, while investors also traded cautiously ahead of key domestic economic data this week.

The Nifty PSU Bank index fell as much as 2.7 percent, dragged by a nearly 9 percent decline in PNB shares after it disclosed fraudulent transactions of over $200 million in addition to the $1.77 billion reported earlier.

The alleged fraud, by far the biggest ever detected by a local bank, is centred around companies linked to billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, owner of Gitanjali Gems Ltd.

Investor sentiment was also tepid ahead of domestic economic data including October-December quarter gross domestic product (GDP) and fiscal deficit. A Reuters poll forecast GDP expansion at 6.9 percent, the fastest in 2017.

“There is caution ahead of the economic data, but it is expected to be positive,” said Vinod Nair, head of research at Geojit Financial Services.

“If the data is as expected, there could be some consolidation, and apart from the uncertainties around PSU banks, the outlook overall for the near term is positive.”

The broader NSE index was down 0.11 percent at 10,570.55 as of 0604 GMT, while the benchmark BSE index was 0.09 percent lower at 34,414.06.

Shares of Ambuja Cement Ltd fell 4.8 percent while ACC Ltd was down 2.2 percent after the companies late on Monday said they had put on hold plans for a proposed merger.

Among the gainers, oil explorers Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd and Reliance Industries Ltd rose 2.1 percent and 1.8 percent respectively on higher oil prices.

Reporting by Arnab Paul in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair

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