Nifty scale record high; financials lead gains

By Sachin Ravikumar

BENGALURU, Feb 15 (Reuters) – Indian shares hit an all-time high on Monday with financial stocks leading broad-based gains, as upbeat corporate earnings raised hopes of a faster economic recovery while buoyant global markets also aided risk sentiment.

India’s main stock indexes have gained 12% so far in February in a rally powered by a high-spending federal budget and stronger-than-expected December-quarter earnings reports from companies.

The NSE Nifty 50 index was 0.83% higher at 15,289.75 by 0450 GMT, while the S&P BSE Sensex was up 0.95% at 52,031.87. Both indexes hit record highs in early trading.

Thirteen of the 14 sectoral indexes were trading higher, with banks leading the gains. Mortgage lender HDFC and ICICI Bank were the top two boosts to the Nifty 50, gaining roughly 2% each.

“We have seen the strongest earnings season in several years … It’s a strong indicator of an economic recovery,” said Siddharth Khemka, head of retail research at Motilal Oswal (NS:) Securities in Mumbai.

Indian companies reported a near 49% year-on-year growth in December-quarter profits, the biggest increase in four quarters, Refinitiv data for 220 companies with at least $500 million in market value showed.

Among earnings-driven moves, Deepak Nitrite jumped 9% and Dilip Buildcon rose 6% after both companies posted higher profits.

Indiabulls Housing Finance fell 4.3% and Timken India shed 7% after reporting profit declines.

Positive global cues also helped boost Indian markets on Monday, Motilal Oswal’s Khemka said.

Asian stocks hit record highs as successful coronavirus vaccine rollouts globally boosted hopes of a quick economic recovery amid new fiscal aid from Washington. On Wall Street, the and set record closing highs on Friday. MKTS/GLOB

On the economic front, data on Friday showed India’s retail inflation stayed within the central bank’s target range for the second consecutive month in January.

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