March 8, 2018 / 5:24 AM / 3 months ago

Indian shares steady amid hopes of U.S. import tariff exemptions

* NSE index up 0.12 pct, BSE index firms 0.15 pct

* Asian shares ex-Japan climb

* Indian telecom stocks gain as govt raises spectrum cap

By Krishna V Kurup

March 8 (Reuters) - Indian shares held steady on Thursday after six sessions of losses, as Asian equities rose on hopes that U.S. President Donald Trump’s plan to introduce hefty tariffs on steel and aluminium imports could exclude certain key partner countries.

Asian shares outside Japan rose sharply as fears of a global trade war eased after White House signalled that the proposed hefty U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium imports could exclude Canada, Mexico and a clutch of other countries.

The broader NSE index was up 0.12 percent at 10,166.50 as of 0518 GMT, while the benchmark BSE index rose 0.15 percent to 33,082.95.

“Markets are relieved that Trump is going to take a far more thoughtful approach towards any sanctions that he puts through,” said Sunil Sharma, chief investment officer at Sanctum Wealth Management.

Financial shares were among the biggest gainers, with ICICI Bank Ltd rising 1.4 percent, while Housing Development Finance Corp Ltd rose 1.5 percent.

Private lenders and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs)are gaining as public sector lenders have turned inwards as there is no credit extension at the PSU banks, Sharma said.

Information and technology stocks also advanced, with the NSE IT index rising 0.6 percent. Infosys Ltd was 1 percent higher.

Telecom stocks such as Bharti Airtel Ltd and Idea Cellular Ltd rose on the Indian government’s move to raise the cap on airwaves that a mobile operator can hold to 35 percent from 25 percent earlier.

Bharti Airtel was 1.6 percent higher, while Idea Cellular edged up 0.06 percent.

The NSE Metal index slipped 1.1 percent after rising as much as 1.6 percent in early trade. Hindalco Industries Ltd dropped 1.9 percent.

Broader Asian shares rose, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan up 0.9 percent. (Reporting by Krishna V Kurup in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)

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