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Asia300

India shares rise for third day as software exporters gain

MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- Indian shares rose for a third straight day on Thursday, as software companies gained ahead of quarterly earnings from sector bellwether Tata Consultancy Services.

The benchmark BSE Sensex index rose 0.4% to 27,247.16 points, its highest level since Nov. 10. The broader NSE Nifty 50 index closed 0.3% higher at 8,407.20 points. Infosys led software stocks higher, ending up 3.2% at 1,000.05 rupees, its best single-session percentage gain since Nov. 25.

Thirteen of the 30 Sensex constituents rose, while overall declining stocks beat advancing ones 1,599 to 1,167, with 157 issues ending unchanged.

"The market continued to gain with a gradual change in perception over the quarterly results," said Vinod Nair, head of research at Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services. "There are also expectations that today's data will show some pick up in industrial activity and that inflation remains under the Reserve Bank of India's target."

Both the data are due later Thursday. A Reuters poll expects India's consumer inflation to ease to 3.57% in December, slowing from November's year-on-year increase of 3.63%.

The BSE Information Technology index gained 1.9%. Tata Consultancy, India's biggest company by market value, extended gains for the fourth consecutive session, rising 0.9% to 2,343.30 rupees. After market hours, the software exporter reported a better-than-expected 10.9% increase in third-quarter profit, helped by higher revenue from digital services.

Smaller rival Wipro gained 1.5% to 483.35 rupees.

"We expect a decisive trading session on Friday when IT companies will dictate the market trend," said Jayant Manglik, President of retail distribution at Religare Securities.

Infosys will report quarterly earnings on Friday. The company is likely to post its first decline in sales in seven quarters, owing to revenue loss from The Royal Bank of Scotland that had cancelled a contract in August. Ambit Capital expects Infosys's dollar revenue to fall 1.2% sequentially to $2.56 billion.

Car maker Maruti Suzuki India rose 0.6% to 5,785.35 rupees ahead of the launch of new car model.

Cigarette maker ITC declined for the second straight session, falling 1.3% to 244.30 rupees after about 10% gain since Dec. 23.

Engineering and construction company Larsen & Toubro gained 2.6% to 1,449.10 rupees after Bank of America Merrill Lynch upgraded the stock to a 'Buy' with a price target of 1,674 rupees.

Tata Power gained 3% to 79.35 rupees on news its renewable energy unit commissioned two power plants in southern India.

In rest of Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed down 0.5%, while South Korea's Kospi ended up 0.6%. China's Shanghai Composite ended down 0.6%.

--Dhanya Ann Thoppil

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