Indian shares edge higher in countdown ahead of budget

Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:57pm IST

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* BSE ends 0.17 pct up; NSE ends 0.18 pct higher
    * India's 2013/14 budget to be most austere in years
    * India's Jet shares fall after Etihad says revising deal

    By Manoj Dharra
    MUMBAI, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Indian shares edged higher on
Monday, marginally recovering after hitting their 2013 lows in
the previous session, as recent underperformers such as Larsen &
Toubro rose, while DLF gained after an executive told analysts
earnings would improve.
    Shares are expected to be range-bound until the 2013/14
budget is unveiled on Feb. 28, in a critical test of whether the
government will announce a plan to contain the fiscal and
current account deficits.
    India's finance minister plans to cut the public spending
target for fiscal 2013/14 by up to 10 percent from this year's
original target, government sources told Reuters, in what would
be the most austere budget in recent history as he tries to
avert a sovereign credit downgrade. 
    Such a plan could spark gains in domestic shares. After
surging 25.7 percent in 2012, the benchmark BSE index 
has stalled and is up only 0.38 percent so far this year.
    "Earnings season has been not bad but not good either, and
now eyes are on budget which has to be responsible as exports
are not looking good," G. Chokkalingam, executive director and
chief investment officer, Centrum Wealth Management, said.
    "You are dependent only on FII money to support current
account deficit, so finance minister has to favour markets and
economy, there is no other choice," he added.
    The benchmark BSE index rose 0.17 percent, or 32.93
points, to end at 19,501.08, recovering from its lowest close
since Dec. 31, 2012, hit on Friday. 
    The broader NSE index rose 0.18 percent, or 10.80
points, to end at 5,898.20.
    The gains were led by a pick-up in shares where selling was
seen as overdone. Larsen & Toubro Ltd gained 1.7
percent after having fallen 6.35 percent as of Friday's close. 
    State Bank of India gained 1.3 percent. Its shares
have fallen 8.4 percent so far this month as on Friday's close,
after Oct-Dec earnings disappointed.   
    Among other gainers, shares in DLF Ltd rose 5
percent, after vice chairman Rajiv Singh indicated earnings
would improve and said net debt would fall, according to
analysts who attended the company's post-results analyst meeting
on Friday. 
    Public sector companies MMTC Ltd and Hindustan
Copper Ltd gained 8.2 percent and 3.7 percent
respectively on hopes of good demand in the upcoming stake sales
by the government.
    The government is yet to provide a time frame for the stake 
sales.
    India will allow wireless broadband airwave holders to
provide voice services if they pay an additional $306 million, a
senior government official said on Monday, a move likely to
boost billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries Ltd
. 
    Reliance shares ended 0.2 percent higher.
    However, Jet Airways fell 7.65 percent, a day after
the chairman of Etihad Airways said the Abu Dhabi-based carrier
needed to revise the terms of a pending deal to buy a stake in
the Indian airline. 
    Tata Consultancy Services Ltd fell 1.16 percent and
Infosys Ltd shares ended 0.3 percent lower on profit
taking. They had gained in the previou session on hopes earnings
will look up in fiscal 2014 on the back of an improving global
economy.
    For additional stocks on the move double click       
     
   FACTORS TO WATCH                                             
* Yen weakens as Japan signals no change to yen policy    
* Brent steadies below $118, global growth hopes support   
* Dlr up after G20, stocks ease on growth concern    
* Foreign institutional investor flows          
* For closing rates of Indian ADRs                       
                       
   ASIA-PACIFIC STOCK MARKETS:                                  
Pan-Asia........ Japan.......   S.Korea... 
S.E. Asia.......        Hong Kong...  Taiwan.... 
Australia/NZ....        India.......  China..... 
                        
   OTHER MARKETS:                                               
Wall Street ....         Gold ....... Currency.. 
Eurostocks.....         Oil ........  JP bonds... 
ADR Report .....       LME metals. US bonds.. 
Stocks News US.. Stocks News Europe     
                       
   DIARIES & DATA:                                              
Indian Data Watch   Asia earnings diary 
U.S. earnings diary     European diary       
Indian diary          Wall Street Week Ahead  
Eurostocks Week Ahead                                   
                         
   TOP NEWS:                                                    
   For top Asian company news, double click on:       
   U.S. company news  European company news  
   Forex news        Global Economy news  
   Technology news  Telecoms news        
   Media news       Banking news           
   Politics/General    Asia Macro data      <ECONASIA 

 (Additional reporting by Abhishek Vishnoi;  Editing by Sunil
Nair)
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