Indian shares were little changed in light trade on Thursday, with losses in pharmaceutical stocks offsetting gains in IT counters, as investors stuck to the sidelines ahead of exit polls on Sunday.
The broader NSE index was up 0.13% at 11,170.80, while the benchmark BSE index was 0.05% higher at 37,134.88.
India's mammoth seven-phase general election began on April 11 with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the front runner.
However, opposition parties have taken heart at what they see as signs that BJP may be losing ground and have begun negotiations over a post-election alliance even before polling ends on May 19.
With results out on May 23, exit polls, which have often proved unreliable in India, are seen as indicators to which party forms the government.
Though quarterly results are leading to buying and selling of certain stocks, overall there is a wait-and-watch sentiment in the market ahead of the exit polls.
The trading sentiment also remained muted by the country's trade deficit widening to $15.33 billion in April, with imports growing 4.5%.
Shares of InterGlobe Aviation Ltd fell 6.5% on reports of promoters falling out over differences in, among other things, strategies and ambitions for the airline.
Drug maker Lupin Ltd fell 6% to a nearly seven-week low after missing March-quarter profit estimates on Wednesday. It dragged the pharma index 1.7% lower.
Infosys Ltd and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd pulled the Nifty IT index 0.7% higher.
Tata Chemicals Ltd and Tata Global Beverages Ltd surged over 7% each after Tata Global Beverages took over consumer products business from Tata Chemicals.
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