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Indian Shares Snap Three-day Losing Streak

3/20/2012 6:15 AM ET

Indian shares snapped a three-day losing streak on Tuesday, defying a regional downward trend and a retreat in European shares for a second day, as a fall in oil prices from their highest levels in almost three weeks eased inflation worries.

Also, sentiment improved after amendments moved by the Opposition to the President's address on the National Counter Terrorism Centre were defeated in the Rajya Sabha by 105 to 82 votes, with the BSP and Samajwadi party members voting in favor of the UPA government.

Brent crude futures were last trading weak near $124 a barrel, as Saudi Arabia, the world's leading crude producer, vowed to help stabilize prices and a 6-7 percent fuel price hike in China sparked fears of lower energy demand from the top consumer. Libya is also ramping up production, with plans to export almost 1.4 million bpd of crude oil in April, easing concerns of a supply disruption arising from tensions over Iran's nuclear program.

According to provisional data, the 30-share BSE Sensex ended up 43 points or 0.25 percent at 17,317, while the broader Nifty index rose 14 points or 0.26 percent to 5,271. Consumer durable, realty, FMCG, healthcare and banking stocks led the rebound, while auto stocks lost ground, limiting the upside.

On the global front, most Asian stocks edged lower on Tuesday, with markets in Hong Kong and China pacing the declines, as concerns about the strength of Chinese demand pulled down commodity prices and increased demand for the greenback.

A lack of fresh catalysts to trigger yet another wave of buying and a flat reading on U.S. home-builder sentiment following five straight increases also prompted investors to move to the sidelines ahead of Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's speech tonight. The Japanese market was closed for a public holiday.

European shares also dropped further from 8-month highs reached last week, with miners bearing the brunt of the selling on concerns about Chinese growth outlook following downbeat comments on China's demand from BHP Billiton. While reinforcing its confidence in the long-term demand outlook for iron ore, the company noted that China's 2025 projections still lag behind current comparables in the U.S.

Reports quoting BHP's iron ore division president Ian Ashby said the company sees a flattening of iron ore demand from China, and that demand growth would drop to single digits.

by RTT Staff Writer

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