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Indian Shares Extend Gains as Oil Prices Slide

BENGALURU, March 14 (Reuters) - Indian shares rose on Monday, extending gains from last week, as oil prices declined on hopes of progress in Russia-Ukraine peace talks, with investors eyeing the country's retail inflation data due later in the day.

By 0511 GMT, the blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index was up 0.32% at 16,684, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex had gained 0.52% to 55,838.88.

Most stocks markets in Asia firmed while oil prices extended last week's decline after both Russia and Ukraine gave their most upbeat assessment yet of prospects for talks.

Investors' focus is also on February retail inflation, which likely slipped marginally, according to a Reuters poll, with surveyed economists also warning about the impact of surging oil prices.

"The single most important variable to track is crude, which has been on the softer side," said Pankaj Pandey, head of retail research at ICICI Securities in Mumbai.

India is the world's third biggest oil importer and consumer, and is thus susceptible to high inflation if oil prices rise.

"The decline in crude from the recent high... indicates that the feared high inflation may not materialise," said V K Vijayakumar, chief investment strategist at Geojit Financial Services.

The Nifty Bank Index gained 1%, helped by HDFC Bank, which added 2.3% after saying on Saturday that the central bank had lifted restrictions on some of its activities under its digital programme.

Among individual stocks, digital payments company Paytm slid 10.7%, after the central bank barred Paytm Payments Bank from taking on new customers and ordered a comprehensive audit of its IT systems. 

Jubilant FoodWorks, the Indian franchise partner of Domino's Pizza, fell as much as 14.7%. The company's top boss resigned on Friday.

Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Uttaresh.V

Source: Reuters

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