NSE ends 0.03 pct lower
* Telecom stocks fall on spectrum bidding worries, Reliance entry
* HCL Technologies hits record high after Q2 profit beat
BSE Sensex down 24 pts in volatile trade; Airtel tanks nearly 5 pct
(Reuters) Indian shares ended marginally lower on Thursday, retracing from their highest levels in five weeks, as mobile carriers such as Idea Cellular slumped on possible high bidding prices at a spectrum auction next month with eight companies applying.
Consolidation came after shares rose in three of four sessions as of Wednesday, marking a 2.8 percent gain for the BSE index on rising bets the central bank would keep interest rates unchanged at its Jan. 28 meet.
The bets of a status quo on rates got a boost after data on Wednesday showed headline inflation fell to a five-month low. The central bank governor kept rates unchanged in his last review after two consecutive hikes.
"Indian shares would continue to edge higher till the RBI policy. Also, it's better that the environment remains positive in markets as the government plans to sell stakes in various companies," said G Chokkalingam, founder of research and fund advisory company Equinomics.
Traders say an optimistic start to the December-quarter earnings season by Infosys Ltd and HCL Technologies is expected to be strengthened by Tata Consultancy Services, which reports later in the day. Reliance Industries' earnings on Friday would keep the sentiment positive.
The benchmark BSE index fell 0.11 percent, or 24.31 points, to end at 21,265.18, after earlier marking its highest intraday level since Dec. 9.
The broader NSE index lost 0.03 percent, or 2 points, to end at 6,318.90, but still managed to close above the psychologically important 6,300 level.
Mobile carriers slumped on concerns over possible high bidding prices at a spectrum auction next month after eight companies applied to bid, signalling much stronger competition than expected.
Idea Cellular Ltd slumped 7.2 percent, marking its biggest single-day percentage fall since May 2010, while Bharti Airtel Ltd fell 4.8 percent, the most since September 2013.
Reliance Communications dropped 4.2 percent, just marginally away