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MARKET EYE WEEKAHEAD - Earnings, reforms key for stocks

REUTERS - Earnings will continue to set the tone in Indian markets, with Larsen & Toubro Ltd(LART.NS), Maruti Suzuki India Ltd(MRTI.NS) and Hindustan Unilever Ltd(HLL.NS) among the companies set to post October-December results.

The government's decision to allow diesel price hikes should continue to help support shares although state-run oil stocks such as Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL.NS) that rallied on the news may be susceptible to profit-taking.

The Congress Party kicks off a three-day conference in Rajasthan, with all leaders, including party chief Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and all top ministers attending.

The big event this month still remains the RBI's policy review on January 29, with most analysts expecting a 25 bps cut in interest rates after RBI Governor Duvvuri Subbarao dented hopes for a 50 bps cut this week after calling inflation "still quite high."

KEY FACTORS/EVENTS TO WATCH

Sat: India's ruling Congress party starts three-day conference

Mon.: NTPC Ltd (NTPC.NS), Asian Paints Ltd (ASPN.NS), Cairn India Ltd (CAIL.NS), Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd (HDFC.NS) earnings

Tues.: Hindustan Unilever (HLL.NS) earnings

Wedns.: Reliance Communications Ltd (RLCM.NS), Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEE.NS) earnings

Thurs.: Larsen & Toubro (LART.NS) earnings

Fri.: Maruti Suzuki (MRTI.NS), Reliance Power Ltd (RPOL.NS) earnings

(Reporting by Abhishek Vishnoi)