BENGALURU - Indian shares rose on Thursday, led by energy, pharma and auto stocks, although gains were capped by fears over the Omicron coronavirus variant after the United States became the latest country to report a case.
The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index was up 0.67% at 17,282.70 by 0505 GMT, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex advanced 0.68% to 58,076.43.
The Nifty Energy Index rose as much as 1.40%, led by a 3.7% jump in transmission company Power Grid Corporation of India, which hit a record high.
State-controlled refiner Bharat Petroleum Corporation was among the top performers on the sub-index with a 2.9% gain.
"Crude prices have fallen below the $70-mark, a positive sign for India," said Sumit Pokharna, vice president research at Kotak Securities, adding energy stocks would be driven in the coming weeks by how crude prices react to possible coronavirus-led restrictions globally.
"The market is in a wait-and-watch mode, with investors weighing factors such as the U.S. Fed's decisions, Indian central bank's moves, upcoming local elections and continued selling by foreign institutional investors," Pokharna said.
Oil prices rose on Thursday, with Brent crude futures up 1.2%, but gains were capped amid fears the Omicron variant will hurt fuel demand.
The Nifty Pharma index climbed nearly 1% and was among the top sub-index performers on the blue-chip index.
Auto makers rose 0.94%, led by a 3% gain in Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd after the company posted a 7% year-on-year jump in November passenger vehicle sales on Wednesday.
Shares of direct-to-home services provider Dish TV India Ltd were up 4.8% after a media report that telecom operator Bharti Airtel was in early talks to acquire a majority stake. Airtel shares rose about 0.15%.
Meanwhile, India's largest private health insurance firm Star Health and Allied Insurance Company Ltd's initial public offering subscription will end later in the day.
(Reporting by Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Subhranshu Sahu) ((Vishwadha.Chander@thomsonreuters.com; Mobile: +91 7506036802; Twitter: https://twitter.com/vishwadha;))