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Indian Shares End Lower, Banks Drag; Russia-Ukraine in Focus

BENGALURU, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Indian shares closed in the red on Wednesday, weighed down by banks, as investors turned cautious after a massive rally in the previous session while keeping an eye on Russia-Ukraine tensions.

The NSE Nifty 50 index fell 0.17% to 17,322, while the S&P BSE Sensex ended 0.25% lower at 57,996.68. Both the indexes had gained 3% on Tuesday.

Global stocks rebounded on Wednesday in hopes of easing tensions between Russia and Ukraine. But worries lingered as Kyiv appeared to blame Russia for a cyber attack, and U.S. President Joe Biden warned that more than 150,000 Russian troops were still near Ukraine's borders.

"(Indian) Markets are a bit cautious after the sharp rally (on Tuesday)," said Siddhartha Khemka, head of retail research at Motilal Oswal Financial Services, adding that concerns over higher inflation and interest rate hikes also lingered.

"There is continuous foreign institutional investor selling, which is keeping a check on the upside. We are seeing selling coming back on any sharp up move."

The Nifty bank index fell 0.6%, while the public sector bank index dropped 1.2%. The sub-indexes rose 3.4% and 4%, respectively, on Tuesday.

Shares in Power Grid fell the most, dropping 3.5%, while ICICI Bank was the major drag on the Nifty, shedding 1.55%.

Shares of Vedant Fashions  known for its wedding wear brand 'Manyavar', listed at a premium in its Mumbai market debut and closed up 7.8%.

IDBI Bank's stock rose 3.3% after a report said the Indian government might start privatising the state-owned lender this month.

"We retain our cautious stance and advise traders to refrain from building a fresh buying position until we see further decisive movement in the market," said Vijay Dhanotiya, lead of technical research at CapitalVia Global Research.

Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.

Source: Reuters

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