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Indian Shares Hit Record Highs on Vaccine Progress

BENGALURU, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Indian shares touched a record high on Wednesday, driven by gains in heavyweight Reliance Industries, as hopes for vaccine approvals in the second worst coronavirus-hit country boosted investor sentiment.

The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.69% to 13,485.75 by 0446 GMT and was headed for a seventh consecutive session of gains, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was up 0.72% at 45,938.47. Both have hit record highs in 14 of the last 21 sessions and are up 4% so far in December.

India’s federal health secretary said on Tuesday the country may approve some coronavirus vaccines over the next few weeks and an estimated 300 million people would be inoculated in the first tranche.

India has the world’s second-highest virus caseload behind the United States, but daily cases have stayed below the 50,000-mark since Nov. 8, despite a busy festival season that saw crowded markets and streets.

“The vaccine news is a sentiment booster. But it is gushing liquidity that is supporting markets, we are seeing risk-on sentiment building up globally,” said Aishvarya Dadheech, fund manager at Ambit Asset Management in Mumbai.

“I believe markets will see traction building over the next 1-1/2 to two years as the economy recovers from the pandemic,” Dadheech said.

Consumer goods giant ITC Ltd climbed 2.3% to its highest since Aug. 11, while index heavyweight Reliance Industries Ltd added 1.1% and top private-sector lender HDFC Bank Ltd rose nearly 1%.

Prestige Estates Ltd rose as much as 4.6% after India's competition regulator approved the acquisition of some Prestige assets by affiliates of Blackstone Group.

Global equities traded higher on Wednesday, after Britain started mass-vaccinating its people using a fully-tested COVID-19 shot and as Johnson & Johnson said it could obtain late-stage trial results for a single-dose vaccine earlier than expected.

(Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)

Source: Reuters

 


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