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Indian shares edge up; telecom firms surge on merger-related news
February 20, 2017 / 6:30 AM / 9 months ago

Indian shares edge up; telecom firms surge on merger-related news

* NSE index up 0.24 pct, BSE index 0.24 pct higher

* Idea Cellular gains over 5 pct

By Tanvi Mehta

Feb 20 (Reuters) - Indian shares gained slightly on Monday as a rally in telecom shares was offset by profit-booking, a session after indexes hit their highest since September.

Telecom shares soared after a report from news agency PTI, carried in The Economic Times, said Vodafone Group would likely finalise talks for a merger with Idea Cellular within a month, citing unidentified sources.

Idea shares gained as much as 5.5 percent.

Meanwhile, Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Ltd rose as much as 9.9 percent after The Economic Times, reported the company was seeking to be part of an entity that would include Reliance Communications, Aircel and MTS.

However, broader sentiment was largely cautious after recent strong gains in markets, with Asian shares largely mixed ahead of key U.S. Federal Reserve events, including minutes of the last policy meeting and speeches by five heads of Fed regional banks.

“Some amount of profit-taking might be happening. There seems to be a lack of interest. Will have to wait and watch,” said Deven Choksey, managing director at KR Choksey Shares and Securities.

The broader NSE index was up 0.24 percent at 8,843.3 as of 0623 GMT, led by gains in the IT and telecom sectors.

The benchmark BSE index was 0.24 percent higher at 28,535.72.

Among other movers, shares of Havells India Ltd and Lloyd Electric and Engineering fell after they said on Sunday that Havells would buy a unit of Lloyd that sells air conditioners and televisions in a 15.5 billion-rupee deal ($231.14 million). (Reporting by Tanvi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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