Indian stocks fell for the fourth day in a row Thursday as the rupee continued to trade lower against the dollar. Dealers said inflation concerns are running high with oil prices already at dangerous levels. The Bombay Stock Exchange's Sensex Index dropped 258.66 points, or 1.49%, to 17,080.65"Markets are going to remain within a range with bouts of volatility as they react to each and every development," said Prashant Bhansali, a director at Mehta Equities. India's Forward Markets Commission said it has halted futures trading for four months from today on soybean oil, rubber, chickpeas and potatoes. Some traders said the ban is nothing more than a political move that will do little to stop rising food prices. Mahanagar Telephone Nigam ( MTE), a telecommunications service provider in India, announced it plans to offer TV channels on mobile phones starting next month. "We have tied up with a technology partner, who is carrying out the field trials. We would provide 21 channels," said executive director J Gopal. American depositary shares of MTE, which trade on the NYSE, finished down 1% to $5.07. Indian information technology service provider Patni Computer Systems ( PTI) announced it will partner with global mobility company Schindler for the development, enhancement and testing services of Schindler's double-deck elevator. The company said it will use its laboratory in Mumbai to create algorithms and to conduct simulations of the elevator lifts. Shares of Patni fell 2.2% to $12.65. Indian banking giant Icici Bank ( IBN) is looking to get government approval for a foreign equity infusion into the company's investment banking arm Icici Securities, according to hindu.com. According to sources close to the situation, the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) may consider the proposal at a meeting on Friday. Icici Bank plans to sell a 15% stake in Icici Securities and will list the shares on the stock exchange in six months. Shares of Icici fell 2.7% to $43.06.
One of the few noticeable gainers in the Indian ADR complex Thursday was Sterlite Industries ( SLT), which rose 1.9% to $20.93. 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.
Susquehanna raised its price target for Chinese private educational services company New Oriental Education & Technology ( EDU - Get Report) to $85 from $77 and reiterated its positive rating on the shares, citing new revenue streams from the company's all-subject training. Shares of EDU rose 1.8% to $75.04. Chinese digital media network operator AirMedia Group ( AMCN) fell 6.6% after the company issued disappointing second-quarter revenue guidance. AirMedia announced its first-quarter net profit soared 289% year-over-year to $8.5 million and first-quarter revenues jumped 162% to $21.6 million, vs. $8.2 million from the previous year, due to strong results across all business segments. Revenues from digital frames in airports for the first-quarter surged 431% year-over-year to $6.7 million. The company forecasted total revenues for the second-quarter to come in between the range of $26 million to $28 million, vs. Wall Street estimates of $26.4 million. Shares of AMCN lost $1.35 to $18.90 on seven times average daily volume. The Chinese telecom sector was in play Thursday after German rival Deutsche Telekom reported a 33% rise in first-quarter profits. China Unicom ( CHU - Get Report) traded up 6.8% to $21.79; China Telecom ( CHA - Get Report) added 5.5% to $71.47; China Netcom Group ( CN - Get Report) rose 3.3% to $65.28; and China Mobile ( CHL) finished up 2% to $84.87. 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.