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BENGALURU: Indian equities struggled for direction on Tuesday as gains in energy stocks countered losses in tech and real estate shares, with concerns about the fate of China Evergrande also weighing on broader market sentiment.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index was down 0.09% at 17,870.3 by 0458 GMT and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.01% to 60,074.51.

It is an "intermittent, healthy pause in a buyer's market," said Ajit Mishra, Vice President of Research at Religare Broking.

Indian shares have gained about 4% this month, hitting record highs on ample liquidity and hopes of a vigorous economic recovery from pandemic troughs.

Trading was slightly volatile on Tuesday, with the Nifty volatility index surging 2.5% in morning trade.

Volatility could continue as the festive and the earnings seasons kick in, Mishra said.

Energy stocks rose more than 2% to hit a record high. Indian Oil Corp climbed over 2% and was among the biggest gainers on the Nifty 50.

Metal stocks advanced 1.4%, driven by a 4.8% jump in Coal India.

Tech stocks dropped more than 1% after Monday's 2.9% slump. HCL Technologies fell nearly 2% to be the biggest loser on the Nifty 50.

Real estate stocks snapped five straight sessions of gains to drop more than 2%, with Oberoi Realty sliding over 5% to lead losses on the sub-index.

Broader Asian markets were trading lower as risks of a default by debt-laden property giant China Evergrande took centre stage again.

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