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Indian Shares Fall On Infosys' Guidance

Indian shares fell sharply on Friday, with technology stocks coming under pressure, after Infosys Technologies warned of a challenging year ahead. Weak cues from European markets after two days of gains and caution ahead of monthly inflation due to be announced on Monday and the Reserve Bank of India's monetary policy announcement slated for Tuesday also weighed on the market.

The benchmark 30-share Sensex fell to an intra-day low of 17,027 in the afternoon before recouping some of its loss and ending down 238 points or 1.37 percent at 17,095, with 17 of its components declining.

IT bellwether Infosys plunged 12.6 percent as it gave much weaker than expected guidance for the next quarter and the rest of the year. Rival TCS slumped 5.5 percent, Wipro tumbled 4.1 percent and HCL Technologies shed 3.2 percent.

Metal stocks such as Hindalco and Jindal Steel, private sector lender ICICI Bank and realtor DLF were among the prominent decliners, with losses ranging between 1 percent and 3 percent, while Hindustan Unilever, Reliance Industries, Tata Motors, Hero MotoCorp, Coal India and Sun Pharma rose 1-3 percent.

The broader Nifty index fell by 69 points or 1.32 percent to 5,207, while the BSE mid-cap and small-cap indexes ended down 0.7 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.

Elsewhere across Asia, key benchmark indexes in Australia, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong rose by 1-2 percent, as an overnight Wall Street rally on hopes of more Fed easing, relief that North Korea's rocket launch has failed and a stock-split announcement from U.S. Internet search provider Google on the back of forecast-beating first-quarter results helped investors shrug off concerns over China's slowing economy.

China's economy grew at its slowest pace in nearly three years in the first quarter, data released today showed, reinforcing concerns about a hard economic landing in the world's second-largest economy. The weaker data, however, spurred talk of further policy easing steps from Beijing to support the economy. China's Shanghai Composite index ended the day up 0.4 percent.

Commodities such as copper and crude retreated and European markets succumbed to selling pressure after a two-session rally, as evidence of slowing growth in China and apprehensions ahead of J.P. Morgan's results kept investor sentiment subdued.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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