Noon: Markets up 0.9%; metals, banks rise

Noon: Markets up 0.9%; metals, banks rise

Mumbai: Indian shares rose to their highest in nearly 16 months on Wednesday, as investors betted on robust quarterly earnings and a pick-up in consumer spending. Firmer regional markets also underpinned sentiment.

Tata Steel, the world’s eighth-largest steel producer by output, led the gainers after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the US recession was probably over boosting metals stocks across regions.

Financial issues ICICI Bank and State Bank of India firmed after advance taxes paid by companies for the September quarterly pointed to stronger profits.

“There is clear visibility for an uptrend in the market until December," said Amitabh Chakraborty, president of equities at Religare Capital.

“The advance tax data clearly indicates second-quarter earnings are good. Third-quarter earnings are also likely to be higher as last year the numbers were subdued."

Most Indian companies follow the April to March fiscal year.

By 11:44am, the 30-share BSE index was up 0.87% at Rs16,598.03, with 26 components advancing. It rose to 16,642.44 in early deals, its highest since 29 May, 2008. The 50-share NSE index was up 0.9% at 4,934.20.

In the broader market, gainers outpaced losers in the ratio of 1.7:1 on moderate volume of 174 million shares.

Among metal producers, Tata Steel rose 5.2% to Rs517 and while Sterlite Industries firmed 3.1% to Rs766.45.

“Tata Steel looks good on the recent rise in Corus’ product prices and the improvement in the unit’s operating capacity to 70% from 50% in the first quarter," said Eric Martins, senior research analyst at Systematix Shares.

State Bank was up 1.9% at Rs2,046.45 and ICICI gained 1.4% at Rs854.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei was 0.54% higher, while MSCI’s measure of other Asian markets gained more than 2%.