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Indian Shares End Firm After CAG Denies Coal Scam

3/23/2012 7:08 AM ET

Indian shares rebounded sharply on Friday, as investors considered Thursday's sell-off a bit overdone after government auditor Controller and Auditor General clarified that its draft report on coal acreage allocation was at a very preliminary stage.

Data showing renewed FII buying in recent sessions and an uptrend in European shares after a four-day losing trend also helped lift investor sentiment to a certain extent. Benchmark indexes Sensex and the Nifty pared some gains in the late noon deals as European shares drifted lower after an early uptrend.

Elsewhere in Asia, shares ended on a mixed note as positive U.S. economic data on jobless claims and the Conference Board's leading economic indicators helped ease global growth worries to some extent. Japan's Nikkei fell 1.1 percent in thin trading, dragged down by exporters due to the yen's recent strength.

China's Shanghai Composite index and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell around 1.1 percent each, as lower-than-expected earnings from Agricultural Bank of China and China Unicom (Hong Kong) rekindled concerns about the extent of the economic slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.

Back home, the benchmark 30-share Sensex moved in the range of 17,179-17,458 before ending up 165 points or 0.96 percent at 17,362, with 22 of its stocks advancing. The 50-share Nifty index climbed 50 points or 0.95 percent to 5,278, while the BSE mid-cap and small-cap indexes ended up 0.6 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Realty, IT, banking, FMCG, power and auto stocks led the rebound, while metal stocks ended subdued on concerns over global growth, particularly in China.

IT stocks rose as the rupee dropped to its weakest in more than two months and reports said IT majors are seeking an image makeover ahead of the U.S. presidential election in November. Infosys gained 1.5 percent after ING Belgium adopted Infosys' Finacle core banking solution. Rival TCS added 1.4 percent and Wipro edged up 0.7 percent. Tech Mahindra and Mahindra Satyam extended their recent gains on merger news.

Telecom major Bharti Airtel rallied 3.7 percent, automakers like Tata Motors, Bajaj Auto and Hero MotoCorp rose 1-4 percent, private sector lenders ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank gained 1-2 percent, realty firm DLF added 1.5 percent and diversified business conglomerate ITC ended up 1.3 percent.

Energy giant Reliance Industries added a percent after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the government had initiated gas-pricing policy reforms to incentivize production of natural gas. NTPC posted a modest 0.2 percent gain after the country's largest power producer denied it has reaped any windfall profit from the coal mines allocation during 2004-09.

Among those that fell, Sterlite, Hindalco, Coal India, ONGC, Maruti Suzuki and Jindal Steel fell 1-2 percent, while Tata Steel slipped 0.3 percent.

Aviation stocks gained ground on expectations that the Union Cabinet would clear FDI in aviation soon. Jet Airways rose 1.9 percent and SpiceJet jumped 7.6 percent.

State-run oil retailer IOC rose 0.7 percent after its chairman, RS Butola, hinted at a hike in petrol prices. Rival BPCL edged up 0.2 percent, but HPCL ended 1.9 percent lower.

SKS Microfinance rose 0.8 percent after the microlender said it has completed secularization of Rs 321 crore with four banks. Hindustan Zinc gained 1.1 percent following media reports that billionaire Anil Agarwal's Vedanta Group has offered Rs 17,000 crore to buy the government's remaining stakes in Hindustan Zinc and Balco.

by RTT Staff Writer

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