Financials drive Indian benchmarks to new record highs

By Manvi Pant

BENGALURU (Reuters) -India’s benchmark indexes hit fresh all-time highs on Thursday as strong domestic data lifted heavyweight financial stocks amid a global rally.

The Nifty 50 index rose 0.57% to 21,778.70 points, while the S&P BSE Sensex advanced 0.52% to 72,410.38 points.

The 50-member Nifty index has now hit a record high in 13 of 19 sessions in December. It gained over 8% so far in the month, on track for its best month since July 2022.

The country’s financial sub-indexes, such as banks, private banks, public sector banks and top-weighted financials, rose between 0.3% and 1% after a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) report on Wednesday showed that Indian banks’ gross non-performing asset (GNPA) ratio continued to improve in the second quarter of the current financial year.

“Indian market has taken the RBI’s report as a positive assurance, signifying that overall position of the financial sector remains stable.” said Narendra Solanki, head of fundamental research of investment services at Anand Rathi Shares and Stock Brokers.

HDFC Bank and Reliance Industries gained 0.1% and 0.7% each.

The Nifty PSE index was the top percentage gainer of the day, appreciating 2.4%, with most state-owned oil marketing companies rising on the back of steady global oil prices. [O/R]

Among individual stocks, Sula Vineyards gained 4.7% after the company recorded highest number of visitors over the Christmas weekend.

Housing and Urban Development Corp Ltd extended Wednesday’s gains to close 12.3% higher, after it signed a deal with the Gujarat state government to invest up to 145 billion rupees ($1.74 billion).

Investor sentiment globally also remains positive on sustained confidence around rate cuts by the U.S. Federal Reserve. [MKTS/GLOB]

(Reporting by Manvi Pant in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonia Cheema and Nivedita Bhattacharjee)