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Indian Shares Firm In Early Trade

Indian shares are trading firm in early trading on Friday after the Indian Meteorological Department forecast a normal rainfall for the upcoming June-September season, raising the prospects of a bumper harvest which will help keep a lid on prices of essential food items.

Also supporting sentiment to some extent, other Asian markets rebounded from an early fall after the Bank of Japan announced additional easing steps to step up its fight against deflation and support economic growth.

The benchmark 30-share Sensex is currently up 70 points or 0.41 percent at 17,201, while the broader Nifty index is at 5,213, up 24 points or 0.47 percent from its previous close. Power, banking, auto, capital goods and realty stocks are gaining ground, while healthcare and oil/gas stocks are subdued.

ICICI Bank is rising 1.7 percent and Axis Bank is moving up 1.8 percent ahead of their quarterly results today. Smaller banks like Lakshmi Vilas Bank and Federal Bank are rising 1-2 percent after the Union Cabinet approved raising voting rights of stakeholders in private sector banks to 26 percent from 10 percent.

Hexaware Technologies is adding 1.5 percent after announcing its quarterly results. Idea Cellular is gaining half a percent. The telecom major reported a 13 percent fall in its fourth quarter net profit, mainly due to higher depreciation and interest charges on 3G investments.

Essar Oil is up 1.4 percent as it renewed a contract to sell petroleum products from its Vadinar refinery to state-owned Bharat Petroleum. Suzlon Energy is edging up 0.2 percent after winning a 50-MW order from Eoxis Group.

Bata India is adding 1.7 percent after posting better-than-expected results for the first quarter of calendar year 2012. Asian Paints is gaining 1.2 percent and Bank of Baroda is up 0.4 percent as they replaced Reliance Communication and Reliance Power in the S&P CNX Nifty index from today.

Adhunik Metaliks is little changed as it received board approval to sell its entire investment in one of its subsidiaries. Yes Bank is losing a percent after Netherlands-based Rabobank sold a majority of its stake in the private sector lender in a bulk deal.

by RTT Staff Writer

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