BSE Sensex falls 140 points, Nifty sheds 37 pts in early trade on profit-booking

Sensex

IT

* Wipro is said to be contemplating laying off several hundred people in Wipro Infotech's business solutions division. This is because their work overlaps with those in a similar practice area in Wipro Technologies, three people familiar with the development said.

TELECOMS

* India's two biggest mobile phone operators, Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone India, challenged in court a government move to auction airwaves in a band they already use.

* Asian shares fell and the Australian dollar eased on Thursday as risk sentiment was shaken by talk in global markets overnight that a hedge fund had been liquidating large positions in commodities, as well as worries the Federal Reserve could slow its bond buying programme.

* The US dollar held firm on Thursday, having enjoyed its biggest one-day gain in seven months against a currency basket as commodities and US equities slid on rumours of a hedge fund in trouble.

* Crude oil posted its biggest daily fall so far in 2013 on Wednesday, joining a sell-off in precious metals and copper as market rumours circulated that a hedge fund was forced to liquidate substantial commodity positions.

* U.S. Treasury debt prices rose on Wednesday, even after records of the Federal Reserve's January meeting showed policymakers discussed the slowing or stopping of Fed bond purchases that are aimed at reducing unemployment.

FACTORS TO WATCH

* The budget session of parliament begins with the President's speech at 1100 IST (0530 GMT), which coincides with the second day of a nationwide strike by trade unions angry with the government's inaction on price rise and alleged violation of labour laws.

* Sri Lanka central bank governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Colombo Stock Exchange Chairman Krishan Balendra, and Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka Chairman Nalaka Godahewa to be in Mumbai for an "Invest Sri Lanka" forum. They will give a media briefing at 12 pm (0630 GMT).

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