India's blue-chip Nifty 50 ends at record high

FILE PHOTO: A broker reacts while trading at his computer terminal at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai, India, August 24, 2015. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

BENGALURU (Reuters) – India’s blue-chip Nifty 50 index closed at a record high on Friday, helped by gains in energy and financials stocks, as falling COVID-19 infection rates bolstered risk appetite.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index ended 0.64% higher at 15,435.65, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was up 0.6% at 51,422.88. Both the indexes marked weekly gains of nearly 2%.

Boosting investor sentiment, India has seen a steady decline in daily COVID-19 cases and on Friday posted its lowest daily rise in infections in over a month.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was meeting state finance ministers of the GST Council, to discuss compensation for states that are already battling lower tax revenues while also gearing up for more expenses linked to COVID-19 vaccinations.

“As the second COVID-19 wave continues to recede in India and pace of vaccination expected to pick up from next month, we expect the long term fundamentals to remain intact and the journey to become little smoother,” said Hemang Jani, head of equity strategy, broking & distribution at Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd.

Conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd and mortgage lender HDFC Ltd were among the top boosts to the Nifty 50, ending 6% and 1.3% higher, respectively. The Nifty energy index rose 1.41%, gaining the most among other sub-indexes.

The Nifty Bank Index closed 0.13% higher, and the Nifty PSU Bank Index, which tracks state-run banks, was up 0.67%.

Automaker Mahindra & Mahindra ended 2.1% higher after it reported a profit for the fourth quarter, compared with a loss a year earlier.

Globally, stock markets were on track for a seventh day and fourth straight month of gains on Friday, as investors bet the United States will lead the world economy out of its COVID-19 slump with a $6 trillion spending boom. [MKTS/GLOB]

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