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Indian shares inch up as more industries reopen, banks lead gains

by Velma Kinney (2020-10-13)

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BENGALURU, Aug 24 (Reuters) - A rise in shares of private-sector banks lifted India's main indexes on Monday, as more businesses resumed operations after coronavirus lockdowns, although gains were limited as domestic virus cases crossed 3 million.

The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.62% to 11,442.05 by 0458 GMT, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was up 0.58% at 38,648.57.

India on Sunday issued guidelines for restarting its entertainment industry even as infections breached the 3 million mark.

As of Monday morning, virus cases in the world's second most populous country climbed by 61,408 to 3.11 million, according to health ministry data.

"The reopening of industries is signalling that things are coming back to normal," said KK Mittal, investment adviser at Venus India.

"Domestic markets are being driven by ample liquidity within the global system. Global cues are also supportive, with positive news coming from the COVID-19 treatment front."

Asian stocks rose after the U.S.

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Stocks in Mumbai have rebounded around 50% after plumbing multi-year lows in March on virus fears, but experts say the liquidity-driven rally could lose steam as it does not reflect the actual condition of the coronavirus-battered economy.

On Monday, top private-sector lender HDFC Bank Ltd was the biggest boost to the benchmark indexes, rising as much as 2.2% to its highest in a month and pushing the Nifty Private Bank Index up 1.7% to a four week high.

Smaller rivals ICICI Bank Ltd and Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd climbed 1.8% and 2.9%, respectively.

India's most valuable company Reliance Industries Ltd rose 1%.

Automaker Eicher Ltd was the top gainer on the Nifty in percentage terms, rising as much as 10% and heading for its third straight session of gains.

IT stocks capped gains, with Infosys Ltd slipping 1%.

The Nifty IT index shed 0.8%. (Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)