Indian shares rally as COVID-19 cases fall; GDP data awaited

FILE PHOTO: The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building is pictured next to a police van in Mumbai, India, August 24, 2015. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Indian shares ended 1% higher on Monday, extending their rally from last week, as a declining trend in daily COVID-19 cases buoyed investor sentiment ahead of GDP data for the first three months of the year.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.95% to 15,582.80 at close, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex climbed 1% to 51,937.44. The indexes posted gains of around 2% each last week, with the Nifty closing at a record high on Friday.

Indian bond yields also edged higher, following the government’s decision to further increase its market borrowing.

The country’s statistics ministry was set to announce fourth-quarter GDP data at 1200 GMT, with economists expecting growth likely picked up during the period, even as they remained downbeat about the current quarter after a harsh second wave of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, fresh COVID-19 cases continued to fall. The country on Monday reported its lowest daily increase in new infections since April 11 at 152,734, and staying below the 200,000-mark for the fourth day.

Energy and financials provided the biggest support, with the Nifty energy index climbing 1.75%, the second highest most among sub-indexes. The Nifty Bank Index closed 1.10% higher and the Nifty Private Bank Index rose 1.09%.

Conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd and ICICI Bank Ltd were the top boosts to the Nifty 50, both gaining 3%. Reliance, which ended 6% higher on Friday, has risen in the last five out of eight trading sessions.

Among losers, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd closed down 4.5% after the country’s biggest tractor maker on Friday forecast “low single digits” growth for the industry for the current year.

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