BENGALURU, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Indian shares inched higher on Wednesday, as a sharp rally in IT stocks helped overshadow weak global investor sentiment stemming from the rapid spread of a new strain of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom.
The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.49% to 13,531.70 by 0505 GMT, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex inched 0.5% higher to 46,232.97.
Uncertainty around a U.S. stimulus package and fears of the economic impact of the new variant of the coronavirus weighed on global investor mood.
In Mumbai, the Nifty IT index jumped 1.73% to hit a record high. The index is set to record its fifth straight weekly gain.
Infosys Ltd rose 2.29% to scale a record high after it signed a deal with Daimler AG.
Wipro Ltd gained as much as 3.65% to its highest in over ten weeks after it signed a $700 million deal with Metro AG on Tuesday.
“In a market which saw some kind of correction, IT and pharma stocks are coming back in focus. IT is doing well on the (back of) strong deal wins,” said Siddhartha Khemka, head of retail research at Motilal Oswal Securities in Mumbai.
“In a short week, we have seen some high volatility due to negative global cues and we could still see some wild swings.”
Markets witnessed a massive sell-off on Monday as India and other countries suspended travel from Britain on fears around the new virus strain.
On Wednesday, however, all the Nifty sub-indexes traded higher, with the Nifty Pharma index gaining more than 1%.
Reuters on Tuesday reported that India is likely to approve Oxford/AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use by next week.
Khemka, however, said markets had already factored in the vaccine development news and was expecting that India would approve its emergency use soon.
Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V