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Updated from 5:10 p.m. EDT

Indian stocks finished lower Thursday as selling pressure hung over the markets following the monthly settlement in derivative contracts, which happens on the last Thursday of every month.

Comments out of Finance Minster Palaniappan on India's growth prospects also hurt equities in the Far East. Palaniappan told

Bloomberg News

that India's economy may grow at the slowest rate in four years for the next 12 months due to a reduction in foreign capital inflows and exports from the global slowdown. The Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index closed down 71.27 points, or 0.4%, at 16,015.56

Auto analysts expressed concerns about

Tata Motors'


acquisition of luxury auto brands Jaguar and Land Rover. "There is a likelihood that there will be pressure on the profit after tax in the short term as it is still slightly unclear how Tata will fund the acquisition," said Enam Securities' auto analyst Sahil Kedia. American depositary shares of Tata Motors, which trade on the


, continued to slide, closing down 3.4% at $15.63.

A report from

said Indian IT company



is looking to create hundreds of IT jobs in the U.K. after the firm sets up a software development center outside of London. The company plans to create the center to take advantage of tax breaks offered by the British government and further its expansion into Europe. Wipro ADS ended essentially flat at $11.26.

Elsewhere in the Indian technology sector,

Satyam Computer

( SAY) announced it has partnered with U.S.-based business software developer



to establish a Pega Business Process Management Center of Excellence at Satyam's Global Solutions Center in Cyberjaya, Malaysia, according to the

Economic Times

. Shares finished 4.2% lower at $22.82.

Indian mining company

Sterlite Industries


announced it has been added to the S&P India 10 Index. The S&P India 10 is made up of 10 of the largest and most liquid Indian firms that trade on developed market exchanges. Sterlite was one of the few Indian ADRs to advance Thursday, trading up 2.3% to $18.01.

Some leading decliners among Indian ADRs were

Tata Communications

( TCL), which lost 6.4% to $26.20;

Icici Bank


, which fell 3% to $39.47; and the

Morgan Stanley India Investment Fund


, which closed down 2.7% at $37.68.

Be sure to check out the

Far East Portfolio

at every night to find out which stocks in India and China are making big moves and announcing major news.

China Recap

Asian markets traded mixed Thursday for the second day in a row with stocks on China's mainland continuing to trade off and shares in Hong Kong advancing slightly. Shares in China couldn't escape selling pressure as fears mount about the impact of massive amount of shares that will soon hit the market once lock-up periods expire. Dealers in the region said that by the end of April, there will be around 1.6 trillion yuan worth of shares that will come off lock-up periods and become available to trade freely.

"The expiration of the lock-up period for shares will add to the selling pressure and dampen market sentiment, affecting other heavyweights like oil refiners and banks," said Liu Youcheng, an analyst at Hong Yuan Securities.

China's Shanghai Composite Index plunged 195 points, or 5.4%, to 3,411.49 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced 47 points, or 0.2%, to 22,664.22.

Chinese alternative energy company

Solarfun Power Holdings

( SOLF) spiked 16% higher after the company reported strong quarterly and full-year results. Net revenue for the full-year 2007 rose 280% to $328.3 million, and fourth-quarter net revenue jumped 304% to $135.4 million. Gross profit also rose 116% to $54.4 million. The company cited strong global demand for solar power for the blowout results. Solarfun closed up $1.90 at $13.36 on almost five times the average volume.

Chinese solar stocks rose across the board Thursday fueled by the strong earnings results from Solarfun Power.

Trina Solar


, advanced 1.9% to $31.28;

Yingli Green Energy


, added 5% to $18.18;

Suntech Power


, traded up 3.3% to $38.07;

China Sunergy


, rose 4.6% to $7.73; and

JA Solar


finished 1.3% higher to $17.91.

According to a report from

, China's largest chipmaker,

Semiconductor Manufacturing International


is in advanced discussions with a strategic investor on a possible equity stake sale. The company is looking to sell shares or convertible securities to a strategic investor. SMI finished 11.9% higher at $3.68.

Chinese interactive education content provider

Noah Education


announced its board has authorized a $10 million share-buyback program of its American depositary shares over a one-year period. Noah rose 1.9% to $5.50 on the news.

Leading the losers list among Chinese ADRs were

O2Micro International


, which fell 6% to $8.14;

China Digital TV


, which lost 5.2% to $18.34; and



, which dropped 4.7% to $2.81.

Be sure to check out the

Far East Portfolio

at 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



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