Indian shares extend gains to third day; banks rally

Index heavyweight Reliance Industries rose as much as 1.28%

  
A general view of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), after Sensex surpassed the 50,000 level for the first time, in Mumbai, India, January 21, 2021.

A general view of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), after Sensex surpassed the 50,000 level for the first time, in Mumbai, India, January 21, 2021.

REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

BENGALURU - Indian shares rose for a third straight session on Wednesday, supported by gains in financial stocks and assurances from the government that it had enough COVID-19 vaccine doses to cover its population.

The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 1.1% to 15,084.60 by 0515 GMT, while the S&P BSE Sensex was up 1.1% at 50,856.80.

Indian equities have gained more than 1% everyday this week, following an expansion of the country's vaccination drive and upbeat domestic economic growth, while easing bond yields also boosted risk appetite.

"The bias is still positive. The way the vaccine drive is progressing is definitely a comforting factor," said Ajit Mishra, vice president, research at Religare Broking.

The Indian government said on Tuesday there were plenty of COVID-19 vaccines for the country even though it has sent quantities abroad. 

Among individual shares and sectors, lenders Housing Development Finance Corp and ICICI Bank were the top boosts to the Nifty 50, rising roughly 2% each.

Nifty's private bank index extended gains to trade 1.4% higher. The PSU bank index rose 2.36%, after slumping 4% on Friday and eking out minor losses in the last two sessions.

Index heavyweight Reliance Industries rose as much as 1.28% after the conglomerate's telecoms unit Reliance Jio Infocomm won airwaves worth about $8 billion in a $10.6-billion spectrum auction. 

The Nifty Metal index extended its lofty gains, rising 3.55%. It has surged 24.2% in February and is up more than 6% in March amid a rise in commodity prices.

Meanwhile, the Nifty Auto index , which clocked a 3.19% gain in the previous session, inched 0.39% lower.

Elsewhere, the rally in Asian markets lost steam as investors paused to assess volatility in both shares and bonds. 

(Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V) ((Chandini.M@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822697;))

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