March 7, 2013 / 11:37 AM / 4 years ago

Indian shares hit 2-1/2 week high; tech firms lead gains

* BSE ends 0.84 pct up; NSE rises 0.77 pct
    * TCS shares rise to an all-time high
    * Focus on inflation, industrial output data and RBI policy

    By Manoj Dharra
    MUMBAI, March 7 (Reuters) - Indian shares rose to their
highest level in nearly 2-1/2 weeks on Thursday as technology
stocks such as Tata Consultancy Services gained on
expectations of improving sector earnings this year, especially
in the United States.
    Domestic stocks gained late in the trading hours after
European shares edged higher on expectations the European
Central Bank could point to future policy easing after its
rate-setting meeting.  
    But at home, investors are focusing on key inflation and
industrial output data due next week, which will be crucial
ahead of the RBI's policy review on March 19. Any additional
fiscal measures by the government will also be eyed.
    "The markets at the moment are centred around global central
bank policy meetings and RBI policy on March 19, for which the
market is pricing in some rate cuts," said Brenda Kelly, Market
Strategist at IG Markets.
    "ECB and BOE meetings would give us cues to what happens not
just globally but in India as well, for the near to medium
term," added Kelly.
    The benchmark BSE index rose 0.84 percent, or
160.93 points, to end at 19,413.54, the highest close since Feb.
20, after having touched a three-month low on Monday. 
    The broader NSE index rose 0.77 percent, or 44.70
points, to end at 5,863.30, adding 2.9 percent in three
sessions. 
    Traders bet improving global environment for Indian
technology companies, which derive nearly 70 percent of their
revenues from the United States and Europe, will translate into
a pickup in demand that can in turn improve margins.  
    Infosys Ltd gained 1 percent, marking its highest
close since April 13, 2011, at 3,004.35 rupees. Tata Consultancy
Services rose 1.84 percent to an all-time closing high
of 1,589.90 rupees. 
    Hero MotoCorp Ltd shares ended 4.04 percent higher
after Kotak Institutional Equities upgraded the stock to "add"
from "sell" on expectations of higher earnings growth.
 
    Elder Pharmaceuticals rose 4.6 percent after it
announced a cosmetics products joint venture with Japan's Kose
Corp. The venture, in which Kose will hold 60 percent, will help
Elder expand its business base, dealers said. 
    Among recent outperformers that fell, Tata Steel 
ended 0.6 percent lower, following a 5.4 percent gain in the
previous two sessions, while Tata Motors shares
dropped 1.13 percent after gaining 7.3 percent in the previous
three sessions.
    Cement companies fell on concerns over poor growth and low
demand, especially after the sector's third quarter earnings
failed to impress the market.
    Shares of Ambuja Cement ended 1.04 percent lower
and UltraTech Cement dropped 1.09 percent. 

 (Additional Reporting by Abhishek Vishnoi; Editing by Jijo
Jacob)

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