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Indian Shares Edge Lower In Early Trade

Indian shares are edging lower on the last day of the truncated week, after minutes from the Federal Reserve's March meeting showed policymakers are less inclined to launch a third round of bond purchases to stimulate the world's largest economy.

Commodities retreated and Asian markets fell for the first time in four sessions on worries over debt situation in countries including Spain, Italy and Portugal after the Spanish government indicated in its 2012 budget that the nation's public debt will jump to its highest level since at least 1990 this year.

Snapping a three-day winning streak, the benchmark 30-share Sensex is currently down 80 points or 0.45 percent at 17,518, while the broader Nifty index is at 5,331, down 28 points or 0.52 percent from its previous close.

Bharti Airtel, Larsen & Toubro, Sterlite, Mahindra & Mahindra, Sun Pharma, DLF, Coal India, Cipla, ICICI Bank, Jindal Steel and Gail India are among the prominent decliners in the Sensex pack, with losses ranging between 1 percent and 3 percent.

Coal India is down 1.2 percent after the government issued a presidential decree forcing the company to sign long-term fuel supply agreements with power utilities within a week. Shares of power companies gained ground with Reliance Power and Tata Power rising 1.6 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.

Bajaj Auto is losing 0.8 percent as the two-wheeler maker raised its stake in KTM Power Sports to a little over 47 percent. Lanco Infratech is down 1.6 percent after Andhra Pradesh High Court dismissed its petition of setting up Lanco Hills project in Hyderabad.

Cairn India is up 0.8 percent as the Vedanta group firm announced its second oil discovery at Krishna-Godavari basin acreage in Andhra Pradesh.

Aplab is rallying 9 percent in the wake of announcement that a section of workers at its Thane Factory has been on indefinite strike with effect from 24 March. Unity Infraprojects is climbing 4.5 percent on winning two road contracts worth Rs.840 crore.

Indian shares rose for the third straight day on Tuesday, with banks pacing the gainers as investors continued to pin hopes on interest rate cuts during the monetary policy meeting slated for this month.

Positive global cues following better-than-expected US manufacturing and China's non-manufacturing PMI data also helped ease concerns about economic outlook. The BSE Sensex ended up 120 points or 0.68 percent at 17,597, while the broader Nifty index rose by 41 points or 0.76 percent to 5,359.

by RTT Staff Writer

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