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Markets end tad lower

Banks, RIL, Bharti Airtel top Sensex losers

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Benchmark share indices ended tad lower on Thursday after government data which showed contraction in June IIP weighed on investor sentiment.

The 30-share provisionally ended down 20 points at 17,581 and the 50-share Nifty ended down 7 points at 5,331.

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(Updated at 14:31 hrs)

Markets have extended losses and is trading near the day's low in afternoon trades. The Sensex, after opening firm and touching a high of 17,703, pared gains as the government announced dismal IIP numbers. The benchmark index declined further and touched a low of 17,523. The index is currently down 50 points at 17,551. Nifty was down 25 points at 5,312.

India's industrial production contracted 1.8% in June, driven down by a slump in manufacturing, government data showed today. Analysts had expected a rise of 1% in June output, a Reuters poll showed. The output for May was revised to 2.5% from 2.4%. Manufacturing, which constitutes about 76% of industrial production, shrank an annual 3.2% from a year earlier, the federal statistics office said.

Rupee fell to 55.1050/11 from a session high of 55.0450 after industrial output data shows an unexpected contraction, but the unit is still higher from its Wednesday's close of 55.42/43.

Asian shares inched up on Thursday with investors turning to data from China for any policy implications on future stimulus, amid guarded optimism for decisive action by Europe to tackle the euro zone debt crisis and global growth slowdown. Nikkei was up 1.1% at 8,979 while Shanghai and Hang Seng added 0.6-1% each.

From the sectoral pack, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) index continued their upward march and hit a new high today on the Bombay Stock Exchange. The index was up 1.2% at 5,181. However, BSE oil & gas index slipped 1% at 8,286, followed by bankex and capital goods indices.

Bharti Airtel shares fell for a second day to a two-year low as banks including Goldman Sachs and Standard Chartered cut their ratings on India's top telecoms carrier in the wake of disappointing quarterly earnings. Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to "neutral" from "buy" with a revised target price of 270 rupees, saying it expected "relatively weak" operational momentum in Bharti's operations in India and Africa. Standard Chartered cut Bharti to "in-line" from "outperform" and cut its target price to 300 rupees from 380 rupees. Nomura cut its target price on the stock to 280 rupees from 295 rupees, but retained its "neutral" rating. Shares of Bhartio Airtel were down 6% at Rs 258.

Reliance Industries has slashed natural gas reserves in its main production gas fields in the Krishna Godavari basin D6 block by 70% to 3.10 Trillion cubic feet (Tcf) due to "unforeseen geological surprises". RIL dropped 1.4% at Rs 779.

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