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By Sachin Ravikumar
BENGALURU - Indian shares rose modestly on Wednesday after two days of declines, as markets awaited a string of blue-chip earnings reports, with banking and IT services stocks leading gains.
Elsewhere in Asia, Chinese stocks tumbled over fears that a virus outbreak could dent demand and tourism, while regional markets advanced.
The NSE Nifty 50 index was up 0.17% at 12,190.05 by 0422 GMT, while the S&P BSE Sensex was 0.21% higher at 41,410.96.
The Nifty has declined 1.5% over the past two sessions after poorly received December-quarter results from top companies including Reliance Industries Ltd and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS).
Wednesday's advance may reflect some bargain-hunting, especially among beaten down banking shares, said Anand James, chief market strategist at Geojit Financial Services.
"Markets are not keen on taking a one-sided move as yet," he said. "We're caught in a range and we're likely to be in that region until the budget."
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is due to present the federal budget on Feb. 1, amid expectations that she could announce measures to revive economic growth, which has slipped to a more than six-year low.
The Nifty banking index, which has fallen just over 2% in the last two sessions, was marginally higher on Wednesday, while the Nifty IT index rose 1.3% after falling for two days.
IT services firms Infosys Ltd, HCL Technologies and TCS were up between 1.3%-1.7%, and were the top three gainers on the Sensex.
On Wednesday, Axis Bank Ltd, Larsen & Toubro and Asian Paints Ltd - all Nifty 50 components - were set to report results.
Shares in Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd were down 2.5% after results on Tuesday.
Bharti Airtel Ltd was up a modest 0.4%, following the government's move to allow 100% foreign direct investment in the telecom firm.
Vedanta Ltd was the top gainer on the Nifty 50, with a 2% gain. The Economic Times reported that the oil-to-metals group was looking to sell a minority stake in its Cairn India unit in an effort to cut debt.
(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)