Indian shares erase gains as global inflation worries weigh

BENGALURU, June 8 (Reuters) - Indian shares retreated from record highs on Tuesday, weighed down by losses in financials and energy stocks, as investors grew uneasy about high valuations and rising global inflation ahead of central bank meetings.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index fell 0.20% to 15,716.40 and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was down 0.18% at 52,243.87 by 0541 GMT.

The Nifty 50 has gained nearly 13% this year even as a second COVID-19 wave battered the country and economists cut growth projections, with investors focusing on a post-pandemic recovery.

“Markets are at slightly elevated valuations and seeing routine profit taking due to global inflation worries,” said Anita Gandhi, director at Arihant Capital Markets.

Investors are awaiting U.S. inflation data due later this week for clarity on tapering of policy support from the Federal Reserve.

The European Central Bank is set to meet later this week where it is not expected to announce any changes to policy.

Top private-sector lender HDFC Bank Ltd and conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd were among the top drags to the Nifty 50 index, falling 1% and 0.8%, respectively.

The Nifty PSU Bank Index, which tracks state-owned banks, fell 1.72% and the Nifty Bank Index was down 1.04%.

Losses were capped, however, as the government pledged to provide free COVID-19 vaccines to all adults, in an effort to rein in a pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands.

Heavyweight software companies Infosys Ltd and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd gained 1.1% and 0.8%, respectively, lifting the Nifty IT index by 1.41%.

Daily COVID-19 cases in India have been on a downward trend since early May, with data from the health ministry on Tuesday showing 86,498 infections in the last 24 hours, the lowest in 66 days. (Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Devika Syamnath)