February 21, 2018 / 7:09 AM / in 3 months

Indian shares rise after 3 sessions of falls; IT stocks lead

* NSE index up 0.2 pct, BSE index 0.4 pct higher

* PNB down after snapping 4 days of falls on Tuesday

* ITC rises, pharma stocks fall

By Tanvi Mehta

Feb 21 (Reuters) - Indian shares edged up on Wednesday after three straight sessions of falls, with IT stocks extending gains after an industry lobby group on Tuesday issued a cautiously optimistic outlook for the sector.

Revenue from software services exports will rise 7 percent-9 percent in constant currency terms in the fiscal year to March 2019, the National Association of Software and Services Companies forecast, as the industry continues to recover from what has been a tough year.

The Nifty IT index added 2 percent with Tech Mahindra climbing about 4 percent and HCL Technologies rising 3 percent.

“IT stocks and ITC have given stability to markets at this level... Markets could remain range-bound today,” said Madhumita Ghosh, head corporate solutions, Tasmac Global Education.

The broader NSE index was up 0.24 percent at 10,385.20 as of 0622 GMT, while the benchmark BSE index was 0.35 percent higher at 33,822.50. The India Volatility Index fell as much as 5.8 percent.

Among other top gainers, ITC rose as much as 1.4 percent after three straight sessions of declines.

Meanwhile, selloff continued in state-run lenders after a fraud at Punjab National Bank (PNB) shook the industry last week. The Nifty PSU bank index dropped nearly 1 percent and has declined 10 percent since last Wednesday.

The fall in public sector banks is expected to continue, said Ghosh.

PNB shares were trading half a percent lower after snapping a four-session losing streak in the previous session. They have shed nearly 28 percent in the past week after the lender unearthed fraudulent transactions worth $1.77 billion at a branch.

Pharma stocks also fell with the Nifty Pharma index down nearly 3 percent. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries dropped as much as 8.6 percent. (Reporting by Tanvi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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