CORRECTED-(OFFICIAL)-Indian shares rise after Fed holds rates; private-sector banks gain (March 18)

(Corrects to remove reference in paragraph 10 to Vodafone share move based on incorrect TRAI data, after the regulator issued revised data on March 31)

BENGALURU, March 18 (Reuters) – Indian shares clocked broad-based gains on Thursday, as global sentiment improved after the U.S. Federal Reserve pledged to keep its benchmark overnight interest rate near zero.

The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.66% to 14,818.10 by 0440 GMT, while the S&P BSE Sensex gained 0.62% to 50,113.67, ahead of the weekly expiry of derivative contracts.

Indian benchmark indexes have fallen every day this week and they closed 1% lower on Wednesday, as a fresh surge in domestic COVID-19 cases and rising U.S. bond yields hurt risk appetite.

The country reported its highest rise in daily COVID-19 cases in more than three months on Thursday.

However, the focus was off rising infections as Indian equities joined a global rally, with 12 major sectoral indexes trading higher.

Equities in Asia gained on the U.S. central bank’s views, with the MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan adding nearly 1%.

“Fed action has been decent. This will ensure that foreign institutional investor flows will not get disturbed and India is in a very sweet spot right now,” said Rusmik Oza, head of fundamental research at Kotak Securities.

Private-sector lenders HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank were the top two boosts to the Nifty 50, adding over 1% each. While both the stocks slid in every session this week, Thursday’s gains bring their weekly rise to roughly 1.35% each.

State-run banks, which slumped 3.77% on Wednesday, rose 1.92%.

Recent high-flying IT stocks gave up gains and the Nifty IT index inched 0.57% lower. Still, it is up nearly 1% so far this week.

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