Indian shares gain for fourth straight session as bank, finance stocks rally

Analysts warned that if hospitalizations increase from the Omicron variant, it could negatively impact the markets.
Image credit: Agence France-Presse

BENGALURU: Indian shares rose for the fourth consecutive session on Wednesday, buoyed by a rise in banking and financial stocks, rebounding from a decline earlier in the day on fears of a spike in coronavirus cases in the country.

Benchmark indicators were volatile until midday, as investors analyzed headlines about new pandemic-related restrictions across the country.

The NSE Nifty 50 settled 0.67 percent higher at 17925.25 and the S&P BSE Sensex closed 0.61 percent higher at 60223.15. Both indexes have achieved more than 3 per cent so far this week.

Banking shares extended their rally to the fifth session, pushing benchmark indices higher.

The Nifty Bank Index, which rose just 13.5 percent in 2021, has had a strong start to the new year, advancing more than 6 percent so far.

Bajaj Finance and Bajaj Finserv were the top gainers from Nifty, each up about 5 percent.

“Markets have performed very well in the past few days and appear to have already had a potentially milder impact from a third wave of coronavirus infections,” said Narendra Solanki, head of equity research at Anand Rathi Investment Services.

However, analysts warn that if hospital admissions increase from the Omicron variant, it could negatively impact the markets.

India recorded 58,097 cases of novel coronavirus on Wednesday and the authorities imposed additional restrictions to curb the spread of the infection.

The S&P BSE Communications Index closed 1 percent higher, led by an 8 percent rise in HFCL Ltd.

Deviating from the trend, IT stocks posted sharp losses and the Nifty IT index settled down nearly 2 percent with all of its components closing in the red.

Analysts said the decline in IT stocks could be attributed to profit taking as the sub-index added nearly 60 per cent in 2021 and stock prices were at high levels.