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Indian Shares Retreat From Record Highs As Banks, Nestle Fall

Nestle India shed 2.8% after its quarterly profit missed some analysts' expectations. Rival Hindustan Unilever fell 1.5%.

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Indian shares ended lower on Wednesday after scaling record highs for two straight sessions as investors sold off high-flying banks, while consumer goods companies fell after poor earnings from Nestle.

Strong corporate earnings, progress in COVID-19 vaccinations and a high-spending federal budget have driven Indian stocks 12% higher in February, but some investors have also been taking profits from recent winners.

The Nifty ended 0.68% lower at 15,208.90, while the Sensex closed 0.77% lower at 51,703.83.

The three biggest drags on the Nifty 50 were HDFC Bank, mortgage lender HDFC and Kotak Mahindra Bank. The private-sector banks' index, which has climbed a market-beating 18% this month, fell 0.95%.

Nestle India shed 2.8% after its quarterly profit missed some analysts' expectations. Rival Hindustan Unilever fell 1.5%.

State-run lenders rose for a second straight session after Reuters reported that India had shortlisted four banks for potential privatisation.

Shares in the lenders - Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Bank of India and Central Bank of India - ended 20% higher for a second straight day.

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone gained 3% after it earmarked $1.4 billion to develop a new port.

Global stock markets were also largely weaker on Wednesday.

(Reuters)