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Sensex, Nifty end flat as banks, pharma stocks drag

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian shares shed early gains to end flat on Tuesday, as banking and pharma stocks fell, while the country’s top court adjourned a hearing on interest waivers for loans under moratorium.

FILE PHOTO: People walk past the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai, India, February 28, 2020. REUTERS/Hemanshi Kamani/File photo

The NSE Nifty 50 index ended up 0.03% at 11,934.50, while the S&P BSE Sensex closed 0.08% higher at 40,625.51. Both indexes managed to post their ninth straight session of gains.

Indian banks are hoping that borrowers will not be given further respite beyond the waiver on compound interest, which the government has agreed to pay.

The Nifty Bank Index ended 0.93% lower, with shares of HDFC Bank Ltd and State Bank of India shedding 1.3% and 1.5% respectively.

Data after market hours on Monday showed India’s retail inflation picked up to 7.34% in September, with food prices surging ahead of the festival season, dashing hopes of more interest rate cuts to boost the economy.

The Nifty IT index ended higher for its twelfth straight session, adding 1.3%, led by gains in HCL Technologies, Infosys and Tech Mahindra.

Wipro Ltd ended 0.6% lower, just before the company reported quarterly net profit fell to 24.66 billion rupees ($336.58 million) from 25.53 billion rupees a year earlier, below Street estimates of 24.94 billion rupees.

The company also approved a share buyback of up to 95 billion rupees.

The Nifty Infrastructure index pared early gains but ended 0.26% higher, a day after the government said it would shore up investments by spending an extra 250 billion rupees on roads, ports and defence projects.

European and U.S. markets dented sentiment further, pressured by news that U.S.-listed Johnson & Johnson was pausing its COVID-19 vaccine candidate clinical trials because of unexplained illness in a study participant.

Reporting by Philip George in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.