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Market Update

Sydney, Mumbai Little Changed in Light Asian Trades

Australian and Indian equities wobbled near the flatline even as most major bourses in the region remained closed for holidays.

The S&P/ASX All Ordinaries slipped 0.1% while the Sensex shed 0.2% at 10:52 Indian Standard time.

Japanese markets were closed in observance of the National Foundation Day while those in mainland China and Hong Kong remained shut for the Chinese Lunar New Year.

In economic news, data released earlier today showed home loan approvals in Australia declined for a third straight month despite the central bank's decision to slash its main interest rates.

Stocks on the move

In Mumbai, stocks continued their downslide for the eight straight session. Among the losers, oil and gas firm ONGC lost 1.8%, telecom giant Bharti Airtel erased 1.5% and Maruti Suzuki declined 1.3%.

In banks, ICICI Bank lost 0.8% while HDFC Bank and SBI managed to push into the positive territory, up 1% and 0.2% respectively.

Some defensive picks also found support. Drugmakers Cipla and Dr. Reddy Lab enhanced around 2.5% while FMCG giant Hindustan Unilever gained 1.5%.

In Sydney, retailers were in focus after home consumer products retailer JB Hi-Fi Ltd. reported a 3% rise in first half profits and said it expected fiscal year profit to come in 7% higher. Shares of JB Hi-Fi soared over 17% in wake of the news.

That optimism rubbed on others in the sector too. Harvey Norman Holdings jumped 6%, Myer Holdings gained 3.1% and David Jones improved 2.7%.

On the other side, however, miners mostly lagged on the resource-heavy index. BHP Billiton declined 0.6%, while Rio Tinto lost 0.2%.

Banking firms were also lacklustre. Westpac Banking lost 0.4%, ANZ eased 0.3% but ANZ managed to hold up 0.2%.