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Shares extend early gains

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Benchmarks extended early gains and hit fresh intraday high in morning trade. At 10:25 IST, the barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, was up 113.92 points or 0.30% at 38,500.67. The Nifty 50 index was up 30.10 points or 0.26% at 11,551.15.

Buying was broad based. Among secondary barometers, the BSE Mid-Cap index was up 0.28%. The BSE Small-Cap index was up 0.26%.

The market breadth, indicating the overall health of the market, was positive. On BSE, 1089 shares rose and 852 shares fell. A total of 108 shares were unchanged.

Metal shares advanced. Jindal Steel & Power (up 1.98%), Hindalco Industries (up 1.57%), Hindustan Copper (up 1.42%), Tata Steel (up 1.14%), JSW Steel (up 0.96%), Vedanta (up 0.89%), National Aluminium Company (up 0.63%), Steel Authority of India (up 0.47%) and Hindustan Zinc (up 0.24%), edged higher. NMDC was down 4.18%.

Most FMCG shares firmed up. Tata Global Beverages (up 1.67%), Marico (up 1.08%), Nestle India (up 0.65%), Hindustan Unilever (up 0.57%), Procter & Gamble Hygiene & Health Care (up 0.57%), Bajaj Corp (up 0.35%), Britannia Industries (up 0.15%), Godrej Consumer Products (up 0.09%) and Jyothy Laboratories (up 0.08%), edged higher. Dabur India (down 0.13%), GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare (down 0.23%) and Colgate Palmolive (India) (down 1.27%), edged lower.

Overseas, Asian shares slipped on Friday, following the US Federal Reserve's dim outlook for the global economy.

US stocks closed higher Thursday a day after the Federal Reserve signaled that it was unlikely to raise interest rates this year amid worries over slowing economic growth.

On Wednesday, the US Fed said it does not expect to raise rates at all in 2019. The central bank had forecast at least two rate hikes for this year back in December. The Fed added that it expects to end its balance-sheet reduction process by the end of September. The US central bank, however, lowered its economic growth forecast for 2019, raising concerns over a possible slowdown in the economy.

On the trade front, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will visit China on March 28-29 for more discussion on trade, while Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will travel to Washington early next month to continue the negotiations.

Meanwhile, the European Union proposed an extension of the Brexit deadline to May 22 on the condition that the UK Parliament support Prime Minister Theresa May's withdrawal deal, which will be put to vote next week.

On the US data front, the Labor Department said the number of laid-off workers who applied for first-time unemployment benefits fell by 9,000 in the week ended March 16 to 221,000a one-month low.

The Philadelphia Fed's business activity index rebounded in March to a seasonally adjusted reading of 13.7 from -4.1 the previous month. A reading above zero indicates improving conditions. The Conference Board's leading economic index rose 0.2% in February, its first uptick since September.

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 22 2019. 10:21 IST