Indian shares range-bound as earnings offset weak global cues

BENGALURU, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Indian shares traded in a tight range on Wednesday as upbeat results from Bharti Airtel and Tata Motors countered weak global sentiment due to surging coronavirus cases and uncertainty over the U.S. presidential election.

Swinging between gains and losses, the NSE Nifty 50 index was 0.02% lower at 11,886.8 by 0450 GMT and the S&P BSE Sensex was down 0.1% at 40463.58. Both the indexes gained as much as 0.3% during the session.

Airtel was the biggest boost to the Nifty, jumping as much as 12.6% after the telecom operator reported a smaller quarterly loss on Tuesday.

Tata Motors, India’s biggest carmaker by revenue, gained as much as 5.6% after it reported a smaller-than-expected loss.

Domestic investors are hoping the earnings momentum seen among the blue-chips will continue, said Vinod Nair, head of research at Geojit Financial Services.

“The Nifty companies have managed their balance sheets well and margins have improved. The festival season will also help many Indian companies,” he said.

Hero MotoCorp, which is scheduled to report earnings later on Wednesday, was up 4.2% following its deal with Harley-Davidson Inc.

Axis Bank, Dr Reddy’s Labs and Larsen and Toubro were also trading higher ahead of their quarterly results later in the day.

Broader Asian shares were weaker on worries over surging coronavirus infections in the United States and Europe, which have prompted some European governments to impose new restrictions.

“The V-shaped economic recovery is seeming less likely and that will have an impact on the markets,” Geojit’s Nair said.

Investors were also cautious ahead of the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 3.

In the domestic market, banks led losses, with the Nifty banking index dropping 1.1%. Heavyweights Kotak Mahindra bank and ICICI Bank fell 2% and 1.5%, respectively.

The Nifty financials index slipped about 1%.

Reporting by Derek Francis in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni