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Indian Shares Rise after Fed Holds Rates; Banks Gain

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BENGALURU, March 18 Reuters Indian shares clocked broadbased gains on Thursday, as global sentiment improved after the U.S. Federal Reserve pledged to keep its benchmark overnight interest rate near zero.

The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.66 to 14,818.10 by 0440 GMT, while the SP BSE Sensex gained 0.62 to 50,113.67, ahead of the weekly expiry of derivative contracts.

Indian benchmark indexes have fallen every day this week and they closed 1 lower on Wednesday, as a fresh surge in domestic COVID19 cases and rising U.S. bond yields hurt risk appetite.

The country reported its highest rise in daily COVID19 cases in more than three months on Thursday.

However, the focus was off rising infections as Indian equities joined a global rally, with 12 major sectoral indexes trading higher.

Equities in Asia gained on the U.S. central banks views, with the MSCIs broadest index of AsiaPacific shares outside Japan adding nearly 1.

Fed action has been decent. This will ensure that foreign institutional investor flows will not get disturbed and India is in a very sweet spot right now, said Rusmik Oza, head of fundamental research at Kotak Securities.

Privatesector lenders HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank were the top two boosts to the Nifty 50, adding over 1 each. While both the stocks slid in every session this week, Thursdays gains bring their weekly rise to roughly 1.35 each.

Staterun banks, which slumped 3.77 on Wednesday, rose 1.92.

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