April 17, 2018 / 6:56 AM / 3 months ago

Indian shares flat; financials, utilities gain

* NSE index down 0.12 pct, BSE index 0.06 pct lower

* Nestle India, Mahindra & Mahindra hit record highs

* IT stocks drag

By Vishal Sridhar

April 17 (Reuters) - Indian shares were largely unchanged on Tuesday after an eight-session winning run as gains in financials and utilities were offset by losses in information technology stocks.

The broader NSE index was down 0.12 percent at 10,516.15 at 0607 GMT while the benchmark BSE index was 0.06 percent down at 34,285.34.

After two years of normal monsoons, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday predicted yet another year of normal rains.

Financial heavyweights such as Housing Development Finance Corp Ltd and ICICI Bank Ltd gained over 1 percent each while information technology stocks such as Wipro Ltd witnessed selling pressure.

Expectation of normal monsoon and a shift in government spending towards rural areas bodes well, Goldman Sachs said in a note, maintaining its FY19 real GDP growth forecast at 7.6 percent.

Another normal monsoon and the government’s focus on rural development implies that rural income levels could rise faster in FY19, CLSA said in a note, adding one of the key beneficiaries of this would be Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd .

Shares of the automaker gained as much as 2.1 percent to hit a record high of 818.8 rupees.

“There’s some secular buying taking place in the markets. Consumption theme, including retail and FMCG, are playing out very well after monsoon forecast,” said Krish Subramanyam, co-head and equity adviser at Altamount Capital.

Shares of PSU banks gained and the Nifty PSU Bank index looked set to halt a 4-session losing streak.

Power Grid Corp of India Ltd gained for a third straight session and was the top percentage gainer on both the indexes.

Shares of Nestle India Ltd, maker of Maggi instant noodles and Kit-Kat chocolates, rose as much as 2.2 percent to a record high after brokerages Goldman Sachs and CLSA raised their target prices. (Reporting by Vishal Sridhar in Bengaluru)

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