October 17, 2019 / 4:43 AM / 4 months ago

Indian shares nearly flat; metal stocks drag

* NSE index up 0.06%, BSE index rises 0.1%

* Eicher Motors up 3.75%

* Metals index falls 1.4%

BENGALURU, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Indian shares were little changed on Thursday, in line with broader Asia, as investors were jilted by weak retail sales data from the United States, but hopes of upbeat corporate earnings in the domestic market kept losses in check.

The broader NSE index was down 0.06% at 11,458.30 at 0420 GMT, while the benchmark BSE index rose 0.1% at 38,638.56.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was slightly higher after data showed U.S. retail sales contracted in September for the first time in seven months, in a potential sign that manufacturing-led weakness could be spreading to the broader economy.

Meanwhile, investors in India hoped that the government’s corporate tax cut last month would give fillip to companies’ September-quarter earnings.

“The calm on the global side due to the mid-term resolution between the United States and China and better results will drive markets,” said Rusmik Oza, head of fundamental research at Kotak Securities.

“There could be healthy earnings growth because of the tax cut.”

Media stocks were among top gainers on the indexes with the Nifty Media index rising as much as 1%, driven by sector heavyweight Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, which is scheduled to report earnings later in the day. Zee shares were up about 1%.

Eicher Motors, however, topped the Nifty index and rose 3.75%.

Meanwhile, battered mining and steel stocks continued to fall and were among the top losers for the day sending the metals index down 1.4%.

JSW Steel, Vedanta Ltd and Hindalco were all down between 2% and 2.5%.

Dewan Housing Finance Ltd (DHFL) shares fell 5% after the Economic Times reported here the company gave loans to a firm at the centre of investigations into the operations of a gangster.

DHFL has since denied the allegations in the report. (Reporting by Derek Francis in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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