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Indian Shares Edge Lower In Early Trade

Indian shares fell in early trading on Monday, as weak U.S. jobs data cast doubts over the strength of the global economic recovery. Commodities fell and Asian markets retreated across the board, dampening investor sentiment. A few Asian markets, including Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong, and European markets remain closed today for Easter Monday holiday.

Metal, capital goods, power, banking and oil/gas stocks are bearing the brunt of the selling, while healthcare and IT stocks are little changed. Among the prominent decliners, NTPC, ICICI Bank, Jindal Steel, Sterlite Industries, Tata Steel, Larsen & Toubro, BHEL and Hindalco are down 2-4 percent.

The benchmark 30-share Sensex is currently trading near the day's low at 17,264, down 222 points or 1.27 percent from its previous close, while the broader Nifty index is down 73 points or 1.36 percent at 5,250.

Kingfisher Airlines is plunging almost 5 percent on profit taking after rallying 20 percent in the past two sessions. Zee Entertainment Enterprises is down 1.8 percent after its board approved a share buy back at a price not exceeding Rs.140 a share. Infosys is down 0.7 percent ahead of its quarterly results on Friday.

Hindustan Construction Company is down 1.5 percent despite winning a rail tunnel order worth Rs.162 crore. Dabur is down 0.6 percent amid reports that the FMCG company is mulling increasing prices of its products.

Mahindra Satyam is losing 2.4 percent after a group of investors led by Aberdeen Asset Management claimed damages of over $150 million (approximately 750 crore) from the company for their alleged losses due to investment made in the company's stock. Unitech is tumbling 2.5 percent on fund raising reports.

Inventure Growth & Securities is down 2.5 percent after its board recommended a 3:1 bonus issue. Orchid Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals is tumbling 3.3 percent on receiving court approval for merging Orchid Research Laboratories with itself.

On the positive side, Gammon Infrastructure Projects is climbing 7.2 percent as the company won a letter of award for a road project from the Madhya Pradesh Road Development Corporation. Tata Power is adding half a percent on reports that it is in talks with energy company Sekoko Resources to acquire a 30 percent stake in the Waterberg Coal Project in South Africa.

Marico is gaining half a percent after its board approved a proposal to raise Rs.500 crore via a preferential share issue to two foreign investors on a preferential basis. HUL is up 0.4 percent after the company sold its leasehold rights of the land and building in Worli to Piramal Realty for Rs 452.5 crore.

IVRCL is moving up 2.1 percent on a ET report that the company is close to selling three BOT assets for around Rs 500 crore.

Indian shares snapped a three-day winning streak on Wednesday, as tepid global cues following the release of minutes from the Fed's March meeting and domestic data showing signs of moderation in the services sector dampened investor sentiment. The benchmark BSE Sensex ended down 111 points or 0.63 percent at 17,486, while the broader Nifty index fell 36 points or 0.66 percent to 5,323. The BSE and NSE were shut on Thursday and Friday on account of Mahavir Jayanti and Good Friday, respectively.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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