BSE Sensex gains 33 points in early trade

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The 30-share barometer rose by 32.80 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 19,500.95. (Reuters) The 30-share barometer rose by 32.80 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 19,500.95. (Reuters)
SummaryThe 30-share barometer rose by 32.80 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 19,500.95.

The BSE benchmark Sensex gained over 32 points in early trade today on selective buying by funds and retailers amid a mixed Asian trend.

The 30-share barometer rose by 32.80 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 19,500.95.

The index had lost 140 points in the previous two sessions.

Similarly, the wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty edged up by 4.80 points, or 0.08 per cent, to 5,892.20.

Brokers said selective buying by funds and retailers in oil and gas, realty, consumer durable, health care, metal and banking sectors mainly led the market in a better form.

They said a mixed trend in Asian region further influenced the sentiment.

Among Asian markets, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell by 0.40 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei higher by 2.23 per cent in early trade today.

Stocks More on NTPC Ltd

Stocks to watch-Feb 18

GLOBAL MARKETS ROUND UP

Nifty futures on the Singapore Exchange rose 0.05 percent. The MSCI-Asia Pacific index, excluding Japan fell 0.21 percent.

Japanese shares rallied and the yen fell on Monday after Tokyo escaped direct criticism from its G20 peers on its aggressive reflationary plans that have weakened the currency.

The S&P 500 dipped in a late decline on Friday as Wal-Mart Stores Inc dropped following a report of a weak start to February sales, though the index just barely extended its streak of weekly gains to seven.

FACTORS TO WATCH

UK Prime Minister David Cameron arrives in India for official visit

FINANCIAL/REGULATORY

India's central bank chief struck a hawkish note on Saturday and said there are upside risks to inflation from food and commodity prices, while room for monetary easing is limited.

India's finance minister is planning to cut the public spending target for fiscal 2013/14 by up to 10 percent from this year's original target, in what would be the most austere budget unveiled in recent history as he tries to avert a sovereign credit downgrade.

Investors are betting Indian bonds are set for their biggest rally since the global financial crisis, wagering that a government at risk of losing its investment-grade rating will put fiscal discipline ahead of election largesse.

India is aggressively pursuing tax claims against multinational firms operating in the country as the government seeks to rein in its budget deficit, taking particular aim at IT and back-office functions, tax officials say.

ENERGY/COMMODITIES

India's gold imports in January surged 23 percent from a year ago to their highest in 18 months as traders snapped up supplies ahead of a hike in duty, undermining the government's efforts to control a ballooning current account deficit.

Faced with stiff opposition from power utilities over the Centre's move to introduce coal price pooling, the coal ministry may restrict the mechanism only to power projects getting commissioned after March 2009, The Financial Express reported citing unidentified sources.

Indian customs authorities have started denying coal importers a duty concession they were granted in last year's budget and have issued notices to them, said several people aware of the development, raising the possibility of worsening electricity supply in the country.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Equipment manufacturers and contractors will count on state firms for large orders next fiscal year as NTPC Ltd and Power Grid Corp of India plan to invest 400 billion rupees in various projects and the government will pump in additional 100 billion rupees, according to government sources.

National Highway Authority of India is seeking to push for a "relief package" for road developers as several of them are "under stress" and are finding it tough to raise debt and equity to finance projects they had bagged by offering to pay a premium, sources close to the matter said.

TELECOMS

Telenor's India unit said on Saturday it would close down its mobile phone services in Mumbai zone immediately after a court ordered that carriers whose permits were revoked and did not win fresh rights to airwaves must stop services.

Operators offering 4G services with 2,300-MHz spectrum are likely to get the option of switching to the more efficient 700- MHz band, with the Department of Telecommunications working considering offering the latter in the next round of auction, DoT officials close to the development said.

AIRLINES

Etihad Airways needs to revise its deal to buy a stake in India's Jet Airways India Ltd and it is too soon to say when a final agreement will be struck, the Abu Dhabi airline's chairman said.

PHARMA

Unichem Laboratories Ltd said on Friday it plans to sell a drug manufacturing plant located in central India to a unit of U.S.-based Mylan for 1.6 billion rupees ($29.7 million).

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