* BSE index gains 0.17 pct; NSE index up 0.2 pct
* Blue-chips gain; SBI up 2.2 pct
* Steel stocks down; Tata Steel ends 1.6 pct lower
By Indulal PM
MUMBAI, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Indian shares edged higher on Thursday, gaining for seven out of eight previous sessions, as persistent buying by foreign investors continued to bolster blue chips such as State Bank of India.
The broader NSE index has hit record highs in each of the previous three sessions, reflecting continued optimism about corporate earnings and a recovery in the domestic economy
Good foreign buying has come despite an uncertain global environment, with data on Thursday showing China’s vast factory sector slowed to a three-month low in August.
Overseas investors bought shares worth of $41.4 million on Wednesday, continuing their buying streak for the fifth straight session, exchange and regulatory data showed. They have bought a net $12.64 billion into Indian shares so far this year.
“Markets are getting into the expiry mood as we are nearing the derivative contracts expiry. We will see stock-specific action. I feel enough money is waiting to enter into the market. It is a buy-on-dip market,” said Jagannadham Thunuguntla, head of research and chief strategist at SMC Global Securities Ltd.
The broader NSE index ended 0.2 percent up at 7,891.10, not far off from the record high of 7922.70 hit on Wednesday.
The benchmark BSE index closed 0.17 percent higher at 26,360.11, also within touch of the record high of 26,530.67 hit on Tuesday.
Blue-chips led the gains. State Bank of India closed 2.2 percent higher, while Bajaj Auto Ltd ended 3.2 percent up and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd added 1.5 percent.
State-run oil marketing companies have also gained on the back of weak crude prices. Brent crude oil slipped below $102 a barrel on Thursday, near a 14-month low, on evidence of plentiful fuel supplies and Chinese economic data pointing to slowing demand.
Indian Oil Corp Ltd gained 3.8 percent, Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd ended 4.4 percent higher and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd added 2.8 percent.
Among other gainers, Titan Co Ltd added 5.9 percent after Morgan Stanley upgraded the watches and jewellery maker to “overweight” from “equal-weight,” citing the strength of its Tanishq jewellery brand and its potential to gain market share.
However, shares in steel companies ended lower on weak Chinese data and reports of an increase in iron ore royalty. .
Tata Steel Ltd closed 1.6 percent lower, while JSW Steel Ltd ended down 0.83 percent.
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FACTORS TO WATCH * FOREX-German data brings relief to euro, dollar rise stalls * Oil falls towards 14-month low near $101 on ample supply * Euro struggles at 11-month low as dollar reigns supreme * Foreign institutional investor flows * For closing rates of Indian ADRs
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