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Sensex, Nifty Give Up Early Gains

Indian shares gave up early gains to settle modestly lower on Thursday.

The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex ended the session down 167.36 points, or 0.34 percent, at 49,624.76, after hitting record highs of 50,184.01 in early trade on the back of better-than-expected corporate earnings, sustained foreign inflows and heightened hopes of strong economic reforms in the upcoming Budget.

To revive Covid-19 battered economy and boost growth, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has promised a "never before" like Union Budget this year.

The broader NSE Nifty index hit as high as 14,753.55 before ending down 54.35 points, or 0.37 percent, at 14,590.35 due to panic-selling in the last hour of trade on news reports of a massive fire at the Pune-based Serum Institute of India, the manufacturer of Covidshield vaccine.

NTPC, GAIL, Coal India, Tata Steel and ONGC fell 2-3 percent, while Tata Motors surged 6.4 percent to continue its northward march on expectations of improved earnings.

Bajaj Finance rallied 2.7 percent despite posting a 30 percent fall in Q3 standalone net profit.

Reliance Industries jumped 2.6 percent. The company's Rs. 24,713-crore billion deal to buy Future Group's retail assets has been cleared by market regulator SEBI. Future Retail shares surged nearly 5 percent. UPL and Bajaj Auto rose around 2 percent.

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