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Indian stocks at four-month highs as HDFC Bank, autos climb

Chris Thomas
·2 mins read
Broker reacts while trading at his computer terminal at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai
Broker reacts while trading at his computer terminal at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai

By Chris Thomas

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian shares closed higher on Monday, jumping aboard a China-driven rally in global shares, with HDFC Bank Ltd <HDBK.NS> gaining after it reported strong loan growth through the first months of the COVID-19 crisis.

The benchmark indexes in Mumbai logged their fourth straight session of gains, with the NSE Nifty 50 index <.NSEI> ending 1.47% higher at 10,763.65 and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex <.BSESN> up 1.29% at 36,487.28. Both settled at four-month peaks.

Global stock markets rallied as investors bet on a revival in Chinese activity to boost global growth, even as coronavirus cases continued to surge.

India overtook Russia with the world's third-highest number of novel coronavirus cases, at nearly 700,000 as of Monday morning.

"While the case numbers are a deterrent for markets, data including manufacturing activity and car sales released last week indicated that we are coming back to normalcy," said KK Mittal, investment analyst at Venus India.

India, the world's second-most populous country, is slowly limping out of months-long lockdowns triggered by the novel coronavirus.

However, a "robust credit delivery mechanism" helped HDFC Bank, the country's top private-sector lender, report strong growth numbers in the tough environment, according to Macquarie Research.

Shares of the heavyweight bank pared some early gains to settle 2.7% higher, their best closing level since March 11, pushing the Nifty Bank Index <.NSEBANK> about 1.6% higher.

Automaker Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd <MAHM.NS> led gains in percentage terms, rising 7.6%, while Tata Motors Ltd <TAMO.NS> rose 5.4%.

National Fertilizers Ltd <NAFT.NS> soared 20% on its best day since Jan. 2012 after reporting a jump in June-quarter sales.

Consumer goods giant ITC Ltd <ITC.NS> fell 3.7% and was the biggest loser on the Nifty.

Meanwhile, China began pulling back troops from along its contested border with India on Monday, government sources told Reuters, following a clash between the two countries last month in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed.

(Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Krishna Chandra Eluri)