March 14 (Reuters) -
* Asian shares advanced as upbeat U.S. economic data boosted investors’ risk appetite, while reduced expectations for further monetary easing from the Federal Reserve underpinned the dollar.
* The U.S. stock market posted its best day this year, helped by stronger-than-expected retail sales and benign comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve, which said recent strains on financial markets were easing.
* India’s headline inflation is expected to have picked up to 6.79 percent in February from a year earlier, faster than January’s 26-month low of 6.55 percent, as higher global oil prices fed into the country’s import costs, according to a Reuters poll. (0600 GMT)
* Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi will present the railway budget. He is widely expected to announce a hike in passenger fares to generate more funds for the cash-starved network, as well as some private sector-led initiatives. (0630 GMT)
* Kingfisher Airlines said it would curtail its overseas operations as the debt-laden carrier struggles with a cash crunch and mounting losses.
* Schroders Plc is in talks to acquire an almost 30 percent stake in India’s Axis Asset Management in a deal worth around 1.3 billion rupees ($26 million), two Indian newspapers reported on Wednesday citing unnamed sources.
* Information technology services provider Wipro Technologies is pursuing contracts worth around $3.5 billion, senior management of the company told investors during a recent road show in Europe. (Economic Times)
* HCL Technologies is understood to have secured a multi-year outsourcing deal from Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) worth $250-300 million. (Business Standard)
* Infosys Ltd, India’s no.2 software services provider, and Britain’s Fabric Worldwide Ltd, a provider of digital marketing technology, won a “large” order from GlaxoSmithKline PLC to support the UK pharmaceutical company’s global marketing campaign, Infosys said.
* India’s largest sugar firm Bajaj Hindusthan said its board of directors has approved the merger of its two wholly-owned subsidiaries with the company. (Economic Times)
* The management committee of Reliance Industries Ltd -operated D6 block has so far granted approval for the company to recover only $3.99 billion of its cost from the sale of oil and gas out of its claim for $9.47 billion, oil minister Jaipal Reddy said. (Economic Times)
* Mahindra Systech, the holding firm for Mahindra & Mahindra Group will start the process for a reverse merger of various companies with Mahindra Forgings, its listed entity by April, a senior company official said in an interview. (Economic Times)
* Tata Motors -owned Jaguar Land Rover will consider assembling Jaguar luxury cars in India in the next 3-5 years. (Economic Times)
* Schroders Investment Management, a UK-based firm managing $ 291 billion worldwide, is in talks to buy a 30% stake in Axis Mutual Fund, sponsored by Axis Bank. (Economic Times)
* After buying out Australian firm Legacy Iron Ore for about Rs 920 million last year, state-owned NMDC is looking to acquire three more overseas properties by June-July, a top company official said. (Economic Times)
* Videocon Industries has firmed up plans to bid for oil blocks in Kurdistan even though global oil majors have been shying away from bidding for oil assets in the region. (Times of India)
* State-owned Rural Electrification Corp. Ltd is set to raise 100 million euro from Germany-based KfW Bankengruppe to finance renewable energy projects in India. (Mint)
* Total loan restructuring by India Inc is expected to rise to Rs 1.5 trillion by the end of March, from Rs 1.1 trillion at the end of March 2011, and 865 billion rupees in FY2009. (Economic Times)
* International Coal Ventures Ltd, run by utility Steel Authority of India, iron ore miner NMDC, Coal India and steelmaker Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd, said it is in the final stages of acquiring a coking coal mine in Australia’s Bowen Basin. (Economic Times)
* Around 50 cooperative banks across India may have to stop operations from April if the banking regulator doesn’t extend the deadline set for these lenders to achieve critical efficiency guidelines in terms of capital adequacy and net worth. (Mint)
* The Company Law Board, a quasi-judicial body that rules on corporate matters, directed Unitech Wireless to decide by March 19 if it wants to buy out the 67.25% stake held by Norway’s Telenor or exit their joint venture. (Economic Times)
* Indian rupee report
* Indian bond report
* Dollar supported by data, Fed, stress test result
* Oil ends at 11-month peak on economic data, Fed
* Global shares gain after U.S. data, Fed [ MKTS/GLOB]
* Wall St rallies in 2012’s best day, Citi falls late
* Foreign institutional investor flows
* For closing rates of Indian ADRs (Reporting by Divya Chowdhury and Abhishek Vishnoi)