Indian shares rise on financial, energy boost; Pfizer local unit jumps

The indexes have gained more than 25% this year on falling COVID-19 cases

  

Indian shares ended higher on Monday, led by financial and energy stocks, while Pfizer Inc's local arm jumped on positive data for its parent firm's experimental pill against COVID-19.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index ended up 0.85% at 18,068.55, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex  gained 0.80% to end at 60,545.61.

The indexes have gained more than 25% this year on falling COVID-19 cases, easing restrictions and ample liquidity.

After a correction in October on heavy foreign selling and concerns of overvaluation, stocks have marched higher thanks in part to positive sentiment during the festive season of Diwali.

The Nifty Financial Services Index added 1.17% on Monday, posting its fourth session of gains in five. Non-banking financial company Bajaj Finserv  advanced 4.1%.

The Nifty energy index  rose 1.50%, led by gains of between 2.9% and 7.4% in Bharat Petroleum BPCL.NS , Hindustan Petroleum and Indian Oil .

The refiners have announced plans to build thousands of electric vehicle charging stations.

Shares of Pfizer's India unit gained as much as 8.3% after its parent said on Friday that the company's experimental COVID-19 antiviral pill cut by 89% the chance of hospitalization or death for adults at risk of severe disease.

Divi's Laboratories , which makes the active pharmaceutical ingredient for generic versions of Pfizer rival Merck's COVID-19 antiviral pill, fell as much as 8.8%.

The Nifty Private Bank Index  lost 0.95%, as IndusInd Bank tumbled 10.8% after a media report on Friday saying whistleblowers had alleged loan evergreening at the lender's micro-finance arm.

Separately, India's stock exchanges said a new cycle allowing quicker settlement of trades by bourses would now be implemented from Feb. 25, 2022, instead of Jan. 1.

The move comes after foreign investors and industry bodies pushed the country's market regulator to delay the plans.

(Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M. and Aditya Soni)


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