Indian (SENSEX) shares advanced, erasing earlier losses, as shares of lenders and ITC Ltd. (ITC) climbed.
The BSE India Sensitive Index, or Sensex, rose 0.3 percent to 19,755.31 at 3:07 p.m. in Mumbai. The gauge fell as much as 0.3 percent earlier. ITC, India’s biggest cigarette company, climbed for the first time in five days. Housing Development Finance Corp. (HDFC), the nation’s largest mortgage lender, gained 2 percent. Larsen & Toubro Ltd. (LT), India’s biggest engineering company, slid for the fourth day after the stock was downgraded by Citigroup Inc. and Barclays Plc.
The Sensex rallied 26 percent in 2012, its biggest annual gain since 2009, as government measures to bolster an economy growing at the slowest pace in three years accelerated foreign inflows. The government releases November factory output data on Jan. 11. Infosys Ltd. (INFO), India’s second-largest software maker, begins the earnings season for Sensex companies on the same day, announcing results for the quarter ended Dec. 31.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh began announcing in September measures including raising diesel prices and allowing more foreign investment in the retail and airline industries.
The policies helped lure $24.5 billion of foreign inflows into local shares last year, the highest among 10 Asian markets tracked by Bloomberg. Global funds purchased $898 million more Indian equities than they sold in the first four days of this month, exchange data show, after U.S. lawmakers averted more than $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts on Jan. 1.
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