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Indian shares snap eight-day rally ahead of finance minister's conference

BENGALURU, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Indian shares snapped an eight-day winning streak on Thursday as investors locked in gains from banking and financial stocks while awaiting an announcement by the country’s finance minister later in the day.

The NSE Nifty 50 index fell 0.68% to 12,662.9 by 0500 GMT and the S&P BSE Sensex was down 0.76% at 43,262.19.

India’s finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, will address a press conference at 1230 local time on Thursday, a government statement said without giving more details.

However, officials told Reuters on Wednesday the country was planning to announce a fresh round of stimulus this week, totalling about $20 billion, in a bid to help the economy seen contracting over 10% in the fiscal year to March 2021.

The sources did not provide details of the package besides saying that it would be targeted towards stressed sectors with a focus on generating employment.

Investors would keenly watch how the government would fund the stimulus, said Rusmik Oza, head of fundamental research at Kotak Securities.

“If (India) needs to revive key sectors severely impacted by COVID-19, pump money into the economy and create jobs, we need to watch the sources of funding beyond budgetary support as the government is committed to its fiscal deficit target”, Oza said.

The country will also report its retail inflation data for October later in the day. A Reuters poll showed the number is likely to stay above 7% for a second straight month, lowering the chances of further interest rate cuts by the central bank.

The Nifty’s banking and financial indexes shed 1.4% each after rallying for eight straight sessions.

HDFC Ltd fell about 2.3% and State Bank of India slid 1.9%.

Miner Coal India, which reported a lower September-quarter profit on Wednesday, declined 3.4% on Thursday.

Hindalco was the top gainer, rising 1.8%. (Reporting by Derek Francis in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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