A strong rupee helped Indian stocks advance Monday as non-oil exporters sold dollar-based investments. Traders shook off concerns of foreign funds liquidating Indian stocks after a report showed investors abroad purchased $365.5 million worth of stock more than they sold for the previous week. India's benchmark Sensex Index closed up 301.50 points, or 1.74%, to 17,650.57.M&A activity hit the Indian financial sector Monday. HDFC Bank ( HDB) agreed to a share swap ratio of 1:29 for Centurion Bank of Punjab. "The merger will likely be dilutive to earnings in the 2009 fiscal year, but combining functions and economies of scale should drive returns on earnings and earnings per share accretion from the next year," said a Credit Suisse analyst in a note to clients. If the deal receives shareholder approval, it will be the largest merger in Indian banking history. ADR shares of HDB closed up 2.3% to $114.13. Market rumors circled around Indian automarker Tata Motors ( TTM) after Reuters reported a deal to buy Jaguar and Land Rover could be announced on March 5 or March 6. The deal is rumored to close between $1.5 billion and $2 billion for both luxury car brands. Shares of TTM closed up 2.3% at $18.12. Indian ADR technology stocks posted strong gains on Monday. Infoys Technologies ( INFY) finished up 1.5% to $42.13, Satyam Computer ( SAY) closed up 3% to $26.61, Patni Computer Systems ( PTI) traded up 2.3% to $13.13 and Wipro ( WIT) closed up 2.7% at $12.07. Bucking the trend in the technology sector was online information provider Rediff.com ( REDF). Shares of Rediff traded down 1.7% to $8.21. 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.
Chinese alternative energy stocks were in play Monday. Trina Solar ( TSL) blazed a path higher by 15% to close at $34.68, and Yingli Green Energy ( YGE) advanced 6% to $19.51 on no news. Speculators bid up shares of TSL and YGE in hopes of a strong earnings report from LDK Solar ( LDK). LDK Solar rewarded those speculators after the Chinese solar cell player announced strong fourth-quarter revenue of $192.8 million, vs. Wall Street estimates of $183.10 million. The company raised its first-quarter EPS guidance but said full-year 2008 revenue will be in the range of $960 million to $1 billion, vs. analyst estimates of $1.06 billion. Shares of LDK traded up 2% after hours to $33.20. 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.