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Sensex, Nifty end lower; BPCL top loser

A broker reacts while trading at his computer terminal at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai, February 26, 2016. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade/Files

(Reuters) - Indian shares ended lower on Thursday, dragged down by public sector stocks, as investors booked profits after the Nifty 50 index hit multi-month high in the previous session.

The NSE Nifty 50 index ended 0.3% lower at 11,968.40, while the S&P BSE Sensex was down 0.2% at 40,578.34.

In the previous session, the Nifty 50 index had hit its highest since June 6 and analysts said the market was consolidating as it tries to surpass previous highs.

The Nifty public sector bank index, energy index and metal index were top losers, falling 1.5% to 2.2%.

Zee Entertainment Enterprises ended up 12.4% and was the top gainer on the Nifty index, while Bharat Petroleum Corp ended down 5.60% and was the top loser.

The government agreed to sell stakes in five state-run companies, including oil refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL), its finance minister said on Wednesday, a move that could help bridge a widening fiscal gap.

Meanwhile, Japan’s Sony Corp is in talks to buy a stake in India’s Network18 Media & Investments Ltd, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, sending shares in billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s TV business as much as 18% higher.

Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V