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Nifty, Sensex rise on HDFC Bank boost, coronavirus fears cap gains

By Chris Thomas
·2 mins read
A bird flies past the Bombay Stock Exchange building in Mumbai
A bird flies past the Bombay Stock Exchange building in Mumbai

By Chris Thomas

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian shares trudged higher on Monday on the back of a rally in HDFC Bank Ltd following strong quarterly results, although gains were limited by losses in other banks and consumer goods stocks amid rising cases of the coronavirus.

After briefly dipping into negative territory from near five-week highs hit earlier in the session, the NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.47% to 9,308.8 by 0508 GMT, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was up 0.48% at 31,736.98.

"Markets may not see much action today in the absence of incremental news flow, although the recent pullback may last a little longer as investors assess the implications of the lockdown and its effect on earnings growth," said Neeraj Dewan, director at Quantum Securities in New Delhi.

"Virus cases are still going up, so the only thing that is helping the markets survive are hopes of more fiscal stimulus and some response from the RBI."

India has extended the world's biggest lockdown to early May as it tries to contain the spread of the virus, with cases rising to 17,264, including 543 deaths, as of Monday morning.

Meanwhile, the chief minister of Maharashtra state, the country's largest regional economy and home to financial centre Mumbai, said on Sunday a limited number of sectors would be allowed to resume business on Monday.

Asian shares were muted on expectations that a busy week of corporate earnings reports and economic data would drive home the damage done by the global virus lockdown.

In Mumbai trading, shares in HDFC Bank rose as much as 5.6% to their highest since March 27 after the top private-sector lender on Saturday reported an 18% rise in quarterly profit and said it shortlisted three candidates for the post of chief executive officer.

Smaller peer Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd jumped 3.2% on plans to raise capital, while IT firm Infosys Ltd rose 5% ahead of its quarterly results.

Telecom infrastructure firm Bharti Infratel Ltd was the top loser on the Nifty 50, dropping as much as 5.9%.

Among other losers, consumer goods firm ITC Ltd dived 4%, while Axis Bank Ltd fell 3.4%. Conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd slipped 1.8%.

Airline stocks took a beating after the government said no clearance had been given to begin booking tickets for journeys from May 4, a day after the lockdown is due to end.

InterGlobe Aviation Ltd slid 5.5%, while SpiceJet Ltd fell 2.9%.

(Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)