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Indian Shares Drop on Profit Booking; Small-, Mid-Caps Add to Pain

BENGALURU, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Indian shares declined on Monday, weighed down by broad-based profit booking, while small- and mid-caps extended their slide on rising concerns over high valuations.

The NSE Nifty 50 index was down 0.76% at 21,616.05, while the S&P BSE Sensex settled 0.73% lower at 71,072.49.

"This is another bout of profit booking and it was always on the anvil," said Siddharth Sedani, head of equity product and advisory support at Anand Rathi Financial Services, adding that the "RBI's decision to not relax its monetary policy stance also disappointed markets."

Last week, the RBI doused hopes of early rate cuts and projected elevated inflation for fiscal 2025 at its policy meeting.

The broader, more-domestically focussed small-caps and mid-caps declined 4% and 2.5%, respectively, extending their underperformance over the Nifty 50 for the second consecutive session.

The risk of significant correction in small- and mid-caps is steadily growing due to extremely elevated valuations, said G Chokkalingam, founder and head of research at Equinomics Research.

Eleven of the 13 major sectors declined on Monday. The energy index, the third-heaviest sector, dropped 2.41%.

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, opens new tab and Tata Power lost 3.61% and 7.75% after posting lacklustre quarterly results.

Financials, the heaviest of the major sectors, fell 1.41%.

Public sector banks dropped 4.43%, after adding about 6% over the last three sessions, driven by earnings and relative valuation comfort.

The PSU bank index was the second-biggest sectoral loser after the media index in terms of percentage.

In contrast, IT added 0.79% after inflation data for December added to hopes of a soft landing for the U.S. economy, a key revenue source for the sector.

Investors await India's inflation reading, due at 5:30 p.m. IST on Monday. Retail inflation likely eased to a three-month low of 5.09% in January on slowing food price rises, according to a Reuters poll.

Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Sohini Goswami, Dhanya Ann Thoppil and Sonia Cheema

Source: Reuters

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