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Indian Shares Poised For Firm Start

Indian shares are seen opening slightly higher on Monday, mirroring firm Asian cues as European debt concerns eased and the U.S. economy continued to show signs of growth.

Having said that, concerns over the nation's widening fiscal situation and the rising pricing of oil could weigh on investor sentiment as the session progresses. Brent crude futures rose more than 2 percent on Friday, as rising tensions between Iran and the West sparked fresh worries over tighter supplies.

Meanwhile, the 2 percent hike in excise duty and service tax rates proposed in the budget will further add to inflationary pressures, as the companies are likely to pass on the rate hike to consumers.

On Wall Street, stocks ended largely unchanged on Friday as traders seemed reluctant to make any significant moves following the recent rally, which has driven the major averages to multi-year highs.

On the economic front, data showed that U.S. consumer prices rose the most in 10 months in February, driven mostly by higher gasoline prices, while industrial production was unchanged and consumer sentiment dipped in early March. The S&P 500 crept up 0.1 percent, while the Dow slid 0.2 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq edged down 1.1 points or less than a tenth of a percent.

Back home, India's benchmark indexes Sensex and the Nifty fell less than half a percent each last week, extending declines for the fourth consecutive week, after finance minister Pranab Mukherjee unveiled a populist budget for fiscal year 2012-13, with no concrete reform measures announced on issues such as fuel and fertilizer subsidy, FDI in aviation and retail, DTC and GST.

by RTT Staff Writer

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