Mumbai: Indian shares posted their biggest daily percentage gain in almost two weeks on Friday as interest rate-sensitive stocks such as State Bank of India rallied on expectations the central bank will ease monetary policy next week.
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd rose 4.15% after the country’s biggest car maker said its third-quarter profit more than doubled while posting healthier operating margins than expected.
Shares in banks, auto makers, and property developers have rallied since last month on expectations the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will start cutting interest rates this year, starting with the policy review on Tuesday. Most economists expect the RBI to cut India’s key lending rate by 25 basis points on Tuesday, for the first time in nine months.
“RBI would be cutting rates on 29 January and it would be a big positive for the market. Quantum of rate cut should not matter,” said Nagji K Rita, chairman and managing director, Inventure Growth and Securities. Nifty will be making a new high this year after the reversal of interest rates, Rita added.
The benchmark BSE index, Sensex, rose 0.9%, or 179.75 points, to end at 20,103.53, its biggest daily gain since 14 January. BSE index gained 0.32% for the week, its second weekly gain in three weeks. The broader NSE index, the Nifty, rose 0.92%, or 55.30 points, to end at 6,074.65 points. It rose 0.17% for the week.
Banks were among the leading gainers for the day. State Bank of India rose 2.23%, while ICICI Bank Ltd gained 0.76%.
Bank of Baroda surged 4.71% and Bank of India gained 4.70% on valuations that were considered attractive after profit concerns hit the shares earlier this month.
Property shares that would benefit from lower rates also gained. DLF Ltd rose 3.42%, while Unitech Ltd surged 6.59%, recouping its 7% fall on Thursday.
Shares in Reliance Communications Ltd gained 7.56% after The Economic Times newspaper reported the company was in talks to sell a stake in its mobile tower unit to Reliance Industries Ltd.
Shares in ITC Ltd gained 0.69%. The stock has gained 9.6% in the last two weeks,
moving towards its record high hit on 12 December, as investors felt fears of a potential duty on cigarettes had dragged the stock down excessively.
Exide Industries Ltd shares fell 2.10%, down for the second day after Dutch banking and insurance group ING said it was selling its 26% stake in an Indian insurance venture to local partner Exide.
Shares in Reliance Industries ended 0.27% lower as recent recommendations on a revision in local gas prices was seen benefiting state-run upstream companies such as Oil and Natural Gas Crop. Ltd and Oil India with immediate effect. Reuters
Abhishek Vishnoi contributed to this story.