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Sensex, Nifty end higher as easing curbs outweigh COVID-19 surge

Sethuraman N R
·2-min read
Broker reacts while trading at his computer terminal at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai

By Sethuraman N R

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian shares ended higher on Wednesday, led by gains in Reliance Industries and financials, as optimism around reopening of the economy and buoyant global risk sentiment trumped concerns over a surge in domestic COVID-19 infections.

The NSE Nifty 50 index ended up 0.69% to 10,116, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex gained 0.86% at 34,247.05.

"The rally has been happening on the anticipation of the re-opening of the domestic economy. Nifty is able to sustain above 10,000 levels, which is also giving a positive bias to markets," said Vinod Nair, head of research, Geojit Financial Services Ltd.

Heavyweight Reliance Industries added 2.3% and was a top boost to the Nifty 50 index, while IndusInd Bank Ltd surged 7.7%, to end as the top gainer in the Nifty index.

The Nifty banking index and the financial index ended up 1.81% and 1.15%, respectively.

India reopened shopping malls and restaurants this week, but the number of cases continues to rise - jumping to 276,500 as of Wednesday morning, including 7,745 deaths.

The number of infections in the national capital of Delhi will climb to more than half a million by the end of July but it does not have the hospital capacity to handle such an outbreak, the city-state's deputy chief minister said on Tuesday.

"Rising infections are a concern and a major reason for Indian markets to underperform the global rally, which is expected to continue in the near-term," Nair said.

Hero Motocorp Ltd closed down 4% after the world's largest two-wheeler maker reported a lower March-quarter profit.

Shares of Panacea Biotec Ltd jumped as much as 20%, after the Indian biotech firm said on Wednesday it would partner with U.S.-based Refana Inc to make a potential vaccine for COVID-19.

(Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)