Indian stocks advanced slightly Thursday as investors squared up futures positions or rolled them over on expiration day, which falls on the last Thursday of every month. Analysts in the region said an above-average percentage of futures positions were rolled over for another month and Far East investors held off from making new commitments on either the buy or sell side."I see the market trying to stabilize for the next two to three sessions," said Raj Bhandai, director and derivatives trader at Networth Stock Broking. The Bombay Stock Exchange's benchmark 30-stock Sensex Index added 23 points, or 0.1%, to 16,721. Indian banking giant HDFC Bank ( HDB - Get Report) reported a 37% rise in fourth-quarter profits but cautioned investors on the future of loan growth in India. The bank reported that net profits jumped to 4.71 billion rupees ($117 million) for the fourth quarter, vs. 3.44 billion from the previous year. Net interest income jumped 56% to 16.42 billion rupees, vs. 10.55 billion from a year ago. The company forecasts its loan growth to be 25% to 30%. American depositary shares of HDFC traded up 2.7% to $109.73. Indian information technology service provider Infosys ( INFY - Get Report) announced it will invest 5 billion rupees ($125 million) in a new development center in the eastern city of Kolkata. The company plans to create 5,000 jobs over a period of time to staff the center. Shares of Infosys rose 2.1% to $43.08. Elsewhere in the information technology sector, Syntel ( SYNT), a U.S. firm that has a large exposure to the Indian IT market, reported a 30.6% rise in revenue to $98.5 million, vs. Wall Street estimates of $96.9 million. The company sees full-year 2008 EPS of $1.69 to $1.78, vs. estimates of $1.69 and full-year 2008 revenue of $407 million to $420 million, vs. estimates $418.82 million. Shares of Syntel ripped 10% higher to $32.11 on twice the average-daily volume.
A spokesperson for Tata Motors ( TTM) said to a news agency that the Indian auto giant plans to take a minority stake in Italian car designer Pininfarina. Under the deal, both firms will launch a R&D and engineering center in Pune, India. Pininfarina is best known for designing the Italian luxury sports car Ferrari. Shares of Tata finished essentially flat at $16.13. 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.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed up 391.5 points, or 1.6%, to 25,680. Piper Jaffray started coverage on Chinese solar company ReneSola ( SOL - Get Report) with a buy rating and a $25 price target, citing cheap valuation. Piper analyst Jesse Pichel said he thinks the company can expand long-term margins as the product mix changes towards multicrystalline wafers from mono and as tolling revenue accelerates. American depositary shares of ReneSola fell 1.7% to $17.27. Elsewhere in the solar complex, Trina Solar ( TSL) announced it has inked a six-year polysilicon supply deal with Silfab S.p.A.. Under the terms of the deal, Silfab will supply Trina Solar with virgin polysilicon that will produce around 225 MW of solar modules starting in 2010. Shares of Trina Solar traded up 0.5% to $42.20. Crude oil prices cooled off Thursday dropping over $2.33 a barrel to $115.93. Investors took advantage of the action and locked in gains in a number of Chinese solar and energy ADRs. Cnooc ( CEO), dove 6% to $173.79; Solarfun Power ( SOLF), lost 4.1% to $13.84; Canadian Solar ( CSIQ), dropped 4.1% to $23.95; Suntech Power ( STP), shed 5.7% to $43.49; and Yingli Green Energy ( YGE), fell 2.1% to $22.43. AsiaInfo Holdings ( ASIA) a provider of software to Chinese telecom companies, reported a 16% jump in first-quarter total revenue and a 31% rise in first-quarter net revenue. AsiaInfo said total net income for the first quarter was $5.3 million, or 12 cents a share, vs. $6.4 million, or 15 cents a share, from a year earlier. The company also beat first-quarter EPS guidance and announced it repurchased 166,400 shares as part of its stock-buyback program. Shares of AsiaInfo rose 4.5% to $12.81. Spreadtrum Communications ( SPRD), one of China's leading wireless chipmakers, announced it has entered into a strategic partnership with WingTech Group. The companies plan to leverage their respective cutting-edge chip and handset design technologies to develop feature rich entry-level phones -- with features like MP3 playback, stereo output, voice recording and Bluetooth interface for wireless data transmissions. Shares of Spreadtrum advanced 5.9% to $8.24. 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.