Financials power Indian shares after earnings boost

By Bharath Rajeswaran

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Indian shares advanced on Monday, led by financials, after improved quarterly results from heavyweights Reliance Industries Ltd and ICICI Bank Ltd prompted investors to shrug off concerns of a lacklustre earnings season.

The Nifty 50 closed 0.68% higher at 17,743.40, while the S&P BSE Sensex added 0.67%.

Ten of the 13 major sectoral indexes advanced, with high weightage financials jumping nearly 1.5%.

Private lender ICICI Bank posted a 30% surge in the March-quarter profit, helped by improved net interest income and loan growth.

Analysts at brokerage Motilal Oswal said the lender’s quarter saw “flawless execution.”

ICICI Bank climbed over 2% on Monday and was among the top Nifty 50 gainers.

Reliance Industries, India’s most valuable company, reported a 19% jump in fourth-quarter profit on Friday, aided by the strong performance in the oil-to-chemicals segment. The stock rose 0.38% on Monday.

Put together, Reliance and ICICI Bank account for nearly 20% of the total weightage in the Nifty 50.

“Following the strong earnings of the two companies, the overall picture is positive,” said Deven Mehata, equity research analyst at Choice Broking.

“Investors should buy on dips with suitable stop-losses below 17,500, which is a good support level.”

Among other individual stocks, HDFC Life Insurance Company Ltd surged 6.67% after the Reserve Bank of India allowed HDFC Bank to increase its shareholding in the insurer. The stock was the top Nifty 50 gainer.

Tata Consumer Products Ltd climbed 4.59% ahead of its quarterly results on Tuesday. Analysts expect the company to post a 24.3% rise in consolidated net profit in the March quarter.

Meanwhile, the pharma index fell 0.73%, dragged by Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. The drugmaker lost almost 1% on halting shipments from the Mohali facility to take corrective actions after U.S. FDA inspection. The stock was among the top Nifty 50 losers.

($1 = 82.0300 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil, Nivedita Bhattacharjee and Eileen Soreng)