BENGALURU, June 25 (Reuters) - Indian shares closed higher on Friday, booking their fifth weekly gain in six weeks as falling COVID-19 cases and surge in vaccinations boosted confidence in an economic recovery.
Driven by gains in heavyweight financials, the blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index ended 0.44% higher at 15,860.35 and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.43% to 52,925.04.
Both the indexes added more than 1% for the week in which the country’s vaccinations averaged six million doses per day and some pandemic-induced restrictions were eased.
Investor sentiment on Friday was also buoyed by U.S. President Joe Biden embracing a bipartisan Senate infrastructure deal that lifted markets globally.
In Mumbai trading, the Nifty Bank index rose 1.54%, with private-sector lenders ICICI Bank and Axis Bank being the top two boosts to the Nifty 50.
The Nifty Metal Index ended 2.61% higher as Chinese steel and iron futures climbed on hopes of stronger demand due to the U.S. infrastructure deal.
Tata Steel was the top percentage gainer on the Nifty 50, adding 4.7%.
However, conglomerate Reliance Industries fell 2.3% and was the biggest drag on the Nifty 50.
At its annual general meeting on Thursday, Chairman Mukesh Ambani said he expects the company to formalise its partnership with Saudi Aramco this year, without providing any specific details. Ambani added that Aramco Chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan would join the Indian firm’s board as an independent director.
Truck and bus maker Ashok Leyland jumped as much as 9.6% after it swung to a quarterly profit on soaring demand for its trucks.
(Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)