BENGALURU: Financials and automakers lifted Indian shares on Friday, setting the blue-chip indexes on course for their first weekly gain in three, as a slide in commodity prices offered some respite from broadening inflationary pressures.
The price drop in commodities have made for some relief in equities since energy and food have been the drivers of inflation.
The NSE Nifty 50 index was up 0.71% at 15,666.75, as of 0458 GMT, while the S&P BSE Sensex climbed 0.66% to 52,610.61. If gains hold, the blue-chip indexes are set to post weekly gains of more than 2.5% each.
"U.S. recessionary fears are still at the forefront, but the slide in commodity prices has lifted sectors such as automakers and FMCG in India on expectations that margin pressures will ease," said Ajay Bodke, an independent market analyst.
Prices of copper, a bellwether for economic output with its wide range of industrial and construction uses, are headed for their worst week in a year, while oil prices have slid on concerns over a slowdown in demand.
"Crude prices will need to be watched closely, any rebound in oil to $120 levels will see concerns about fragility in macroeconomic conditions return to haunt investors," Bodke said.
Cheaper oil tends to benefit oil-importing countries such as India.
Still, weakening growth momentum, depreciation in the rupee and strong domestic inflows could mean foreign investors might not be in a rush to return to Indian equities, Societe Generale analysts wrote in a note dated Thursday.
Foreign investors have sold a net $5.62 billion worth of Indian equities so far this month, already surpassing outflows of $5.18 billion from May.
The Nifty Auto index climbed 1.6% to a three-week high on Friday after jumping 4.4% in the previous session, while the Nifty FMCG index advanced 1.5%.
The Nifty Bank index rose as much as 1.7%, led by a 3.9% jump in private-sector lender IndusInd Bank.
Shares of ONGC climbed up to 4.6% after the oil explorer said its unit struck oil in an onshore block in Colombia.
Hero MotoCorp rose 3.5% to an over three-week high after the two-wheeler maker said it would hike prices by up to 3,000 rupees to counter rapid inflation.
(Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Gaurav Dogra; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)