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Index hovers near 20,000 [Times of Oman]
[January 15, 2013]

Index hovers near 20,000 [Times of Oman]

(Times of Oman Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Mumbai: India's benchmark equities index held at a two-year high as foreign investors increased their holdings of local shares amid government measures to revive economic growth. The BSE India Sensitive Index, or Sensex, rose 0.4 per cent to 19,986.82 at the close, after surpassing 20,000 intraday for the first time since January 2011. Bharti Airtel, India's largest mobile-phone operator, advanced five per cent. Cigarette maker ITC increased to a one-week high.

The Sensex had its biggest annual increase last year since 2009 as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took measures to attract foreign investment to boost an economy growing at the slowest pace in three years and to avert a credit-rating downgrade. The Sensex may climb to 22,500 this year if policy steps continue, Deutsche Bank said in a report yesterday, joining Morgan Stanley which expects the gauge to reach 23,069 by December as company earnings recover.

"The government has indicated a number of times that it is willing to push these initiatives, so we are positive on Indian equities," Robert Aspin, an investment strategist with Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore, told Bloomberg TV India. "Inflation will come down in the next few quarters and on the back of that the central bank will be able to reduce rates." Data showed on Monday the benchmark inflation rate slowed to a three-year low in December, widening the Reserve Bank of India's scope to reduce borrowing costs to revive the economy. The central bank signalled last month that monetary policy must shift toward aiding economic growth, predicting inflation will moderate. The RBI meets for its next policy review on January 29.Lenders, industrials "The onus of transition from vicious to virtuous will initially lie with New Delhi and the Reserve Bank of India during the first half of 2013 before the baton is taken up by the private sector in the second half of the year," Deutsche Bank said in the report.

Lenders Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda and Punjab National Bank are among Deutsche Bank's top picks for 2013, along with Bharat Heavy Electricals, India's biggest power-equipment maker, and Larsen & Toubro, the top engineering company.

Bharti increased five per cent to Rs345.2. ITC added 2.2 per cent to Rs284.1, the highest close since January 8. Tata Motors, the owner of Jaguar Land Rover, rose 1.2 per cent to Rs331.55. Maruti Suzuki India, India's biggest carmaker, added 0.5 per cent to Rs1,546.

Tata Consultancy Services, India's biggest software maker, added 0.2 per cent after its net income beat estimates. Earnings were announced on Monday after markets closed. Two of the 30 Sensex companies that announced earnings for the December quarter so far have exceeded analysts estimates. Net incomes for 40 per cent of the Sensex firms missed analysts' estimates for the three months ended September, the same as for the June quarter, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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