BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian shares settled higher for a fifth straight session on Thursday, driven by gains in financial and real estate stocks as the focus turned to a speech by the U.S. Federal Reserve chairman later in the day.
The country's main stock indexes have climbed more than 4% so far this month as investors took an optimistic view of potential coronavirus vaccines and recent corporate results that have signaled a pick up in business activity.
Bolstering sentiment on Thursday, Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das said the country's economy remains much stronger amid the coronavirus pandemic than it was during the global financial crisis over a decade ago even if growth has slowed.
The NSE Nifty 50 index recovered from some late-session losses to end 0.08% higher at 11,559.25 as derivative contracts for August expired. The S&P BSE Sensex closed up 0.10% at 39,113.47.
The Indian rupee ended 0.65% stronger against the dollar at 73.8100, its highest level since March 13.
Mortgage lender HDFC Ltd and Axis Bank Ltd were the top two boosts to the Nifty 50.
Real estate stocks jumped 6.4% and clocked their best one-day gain since April 2017 after Maharashtra state, home to India's financial hub Mumbai, cut a tax on property to support the ailing sector.
State-run fighter jet maker HAL ended 14.2% lower on plans by the government to sell a 10% stake in the company at a discounted price.
Meanwhile, European shares opened lower and investor focus turned squarely to the virtual Jackson Hole conference, where Fed Chair Jerome Powell is expected to drop policy hints when he speaks at 1310 GMT.
(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar; Editing by Aditya Soni)