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Asia: Indian Investors Shrug Off Inflation

Stocks in India rose Friday as investors shook off government data that showed inflation hit a three-and-a-half year high. India's wholesale price index jumped to 7.83% for the week ending May 3, vs. 7.61% for the previous week, due to sharp increases in the price of foods and manufactured goods. Traders said inflation could go even higher, which sent the rupee falling to multi-year lows against the dollar.

The market "had anticipated a rise in inflation and discounted it," said Hitesh Agarwal, research head at Angel Broking. "There's consensus that government measures will bring it down to 6% in a few weeks."

The Bombay Stock Exchange's Sensex Index added 81.40, or 0.5%, to 17,434.94.

Shares of Indian mining company Sterlite (SLT) surged 4.9% after TheStreet.com's Jim Cramer advised buying the stock on CNBC's "Stop Trading!" show Friday. Cramer said SLT will benefit from China's demand for zinc, copper and aluminum. American depositary shares of Sterlite, which trade on the NYSE, closed up 90 cents to $21.82 on three times the average daily volume.

Indian information technology company Wipro (WIT - Get Report) announced it will seek shareholder approval to enter the renewable energy business market. In a notice to shareholders, the company said it plans build custom solar and renewable energy plants and offer customized solutions for solar, small turbines, biogas, biomass fuel and geothermal energy systems. Shares of WIT slipped 2.4% to $13.27.

Premiere Global Services (PGI) announced it has formed a partnership with global communications provider Tata Communications (TCL) to jointly market business solutions supported by the Premiere Global Communications Operating Systems (PGiCOS), which will include Web conferencing and collaboration applications. Under the terms of the deal, Premiere Global will install and deploy its PGiCOS communications technology in India with Tata Communications providing network infrastructure, service and sales channels to the Indian market. Shares of TCL traded up 1% to $24.05.

Leading the decliners among Indian ADRs Friday were Patni Computer Systems (PTI), which fell 2.1% to $13.48; HDFC Bank (HDB - Get Report), which dropped 1.6% to $108.05; and WNS (WNS), which closed down 1.1% to $17.96.

Be sure to check out the Far East Portfolio at Stockpickr.com every night to find out which stocks in India and China are making big moves and announcing major news.

China Recap

Stocks in Hong Kong advanced Friday after the government released key economic numbers that showed strong growth for the region, due to rising investment, growing exports and booming tourism. Annual growth in gross domestic product rose to 7.1% in the first-quarter, well above expectations of 6.1%. The government said full-year economic growth will hit the top of its forecast range of 4% to 5%.

"Economies which are leveraged off China have continued to perform very well," said Glenn Maguire, Asia Pacific chief economist at Societe Generale. "Hong Kong is linked to the mainland via a services dynamic. We are confident growth will come in at around 6% this year."

The Shanghai Composite Index slipped 13.09 points, or 0.36%, to 3,624.23 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 151.93 points, or 0.59%, to 25,748.33

Shares of China Finance Online ( JRJC) surged 18% after the company raised its first-quarter earnings and revenue forecast, due to strong demand for its key subscription services. The Chinese online financial information provider said first-quarter earnings will come in between the range of $4.5 million to $5 million, vs. previous guidance of $3.7 million to $4 million. The company said revenue guidance for the first-quarter will be $10.5 million to $10.8 million, vs. previous estimates of $10 million to $10.5 million. American depositary shares of China Finance Online, which trade on the Nasdaq, traded up $4.11 to $26.15 on heavy volume.

Piper Jaffray removed Chinese alternative energy company Yingli Green Energy ( YGE) from its Alpha List and slashed its price target to $60 from $65, despite saying the stock has some of the best risk reward for the solar sector. Shares of YGE fell 1.7% to $24.88. China Precision Steel ( CPSL), a U.S.-based firm which conducts a majority of its business in China through its wholly owned operating subsidiary, Shanghai Chengtong Precision Strip, announced that net income for the third-quarter soared 231% to $4.6 million, due to strong growth in exports of low-carbon, hard-rolled products and subcontracting work. Revenue grew 61.3% to $18.7 million, vs. $11.6 million from the previous year, and gross profit surged 58% to $5.3 million, vs. $3.4 million from a year ago. Shares of CPSL soared 37% to $5.97 on extremely heavy volume.

Noah Education ( NED), a Chinese provider of interactive education, reported a 114% jumped in net income for the third-quarter to $7.9 million, due to strong growth for its core products. Revenue for the third-quarter surged 8.5% to $26.3 million and gross margins were 55.3%. vs. 50.8% from a year earlier. The company said net revenue growth for the fourth-quarter will come in the range of 16% to 18% and net income growth for the fourth-quarter will come in between the range of 350% to 400%. Shares of NED jumped 16% to $7.99 on very heavy volume.

Some big movers Friday were Solarfun Power ( SOLF), which rose 23% to $22.84; China Techfaith (CNTF), which soared 19% to $6.55; Fuwei Films ( FFHL), which jumped 13% to $3.45; and Origin Agritech ( SEED), which traded up 12% to $7.49.

Be sure to check out the Far East Portfolio at Stockpickr.com every night to find out which stocks in India and China are making big moves and announcing major news.

For more on Asia, check out Daniel Harrison's coverage at TheStreet.com.

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.

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