BENGALURU, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Indian shares reversed early losses to edge higher on Wednesday, as gains in metal stocks led by Hindalco helped offset a slump in Axis Bank following a contraction in the lender's quarterly margins.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 rose 0.46% to 21,336.05 points and the S&P BSE Sensex was up 0.44% at 70,677.99, as of 10:10 a.m. IST.

The indexes saw a steep sell-off in the final hours of the previous session weighed down by financial stocks.

The Nifty metal index rose 1.7% on Wednesday, led by a 4.4% jump in aluminium producer Hindalco Industries.

Helping the mood was optimism that China, the biggest metals consumer, will offer support for its stock markets after a recent onslaught. Aluminium prices were also higher as traders assessed the risks of potential European Union


on the metal from Russia.

Hindustan Copper, SAIL, National Aluminium and NMDC gained more than 3% each.

"China's expected stimulus to boost its economy is leading to a rise in global metal prices because of which we are seeing the rub-off effect on metal stocks today," said Sneha Poddar, associate vice president at Motilal Oswal Financial Services.

Meanwhile, private lender Axis Bank slumped as much as 6.3% to a near two-month low after


a contraction in margins for the third quarter. The stock was last trading down 2.9%.

Top private lender HDFC Bank, which declined in early trade to take its losses post disappointing earnings last week to nearly 18%, reversed course to trade up 1%.

Blue-chip firms Bajaj Auto, Tech Mahindra , Tata Steel and Indian Oil were up between 0.8% and 1.7% ahead of their quarterly results. (Reporting by Manvi Pant in Bengaluru; Editing by Sohini Goswami)