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Indian Shares Track Asian Peers Lower over Fed Rate-Hike Concerns

BENGALURU, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Indian shares closed lower on Thursday, tracking losses in their Asian peers, after stronger-than-expected U.S. retail sales data added to bets that the U.S. Federal Reserve may not ease its aggressive policy stance.

The S&P BSE Sensex closed down 0.37% at 61,750.60, after ending at an all-time high for the second straight session on Wednesday. The NSE Nifty 50 index edged 0.36% lower at 18,343.90.

"We are in an overbought zone and traders are booking profits," Prashanth Tapse, vice president of research at Mehta Equities.

Meanwhile, Asia-Pacific shares ex-Japan slid 1.1%, with analysts pinning the smaller drop in Indian equities to India's fiscal health and economic growth prospects.

The two benchmark Indian indexes are still hovering near their closing levels from last Thursday when they surged more than 1.75% after softer-than-expected U.S. inflation data sparked expectations of a Fed pivot.

But data on Wednesday showing a bigger-than-expected jump in October retail sales and recent comments from multiple Fed speakers have poured cold water on those bets. San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly even said a pause was off the table.

The hawkish tone prompted J.P.Morgan economists to predict a "mild recession" in the United States in the second half of next year.

The Indian market will likely remain in the same direction until the Fed's meeting in December, Mehta's Tapse said.

About 1,994 fell on the day, while 1,515 stocks rose and 107 remained unchanged.

Nifty's IT index fell 0.9%, snapping a four-session winning streak, taking its declines to over 23% this year. Auto and consumer durables sectors shed over 1% each.

One 97 Communications sank 11% as Reuters reported SoftBank Group sold a 4.5% stake in the payments giant.

The public sector bank index gained, as BofA Global Research said a turnaround in the sector is set to last.

Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam and Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil, Savio D'Souza and Eileen Soreng

Source: Reuters

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