Sensex ends higher; Reliance Industries gains on earnings
MUMBAI (Reuters) - The BSE Sensex rose for a fifth consecutive session on Monday as Reliance Industries rallied after its quarterly earnings beat estimates, while merger-related news led to gains in some companies such Kotak Mahindra Bank.
Sentiment was also helped as overseas investors, who have supported a rally in Indian shares this year, were net buyers for a third consecutive session on Friday with purchases of 5.74 billion rupees ($95.22 million) despite concerns over escalating tensions between Russian and the West.
Still, trading is likely to remain range-bound, according to dealers, with investors continuing to monitor earnings including those from Axis Bank Ltd on Tuesday, and Ambuja Cements Ltd and ACC Ltd on Thursday.
"Right now, the markets are completely driven by corporate earnings. There are no immediate triggers left. It's a time of consolidation and we will see stock-specific action in the near-term," said Daljeet S Kholi, head of research at IndiaNivesh.
The benchmark BSE Sensex rose 0.29 percent to 25,715.17, while the broader Nifty ended 0.26 percent higher at 7,684.20.
Reliance Industries Ltd RELI.NS rose 2.14 percent after it posted stronger-than-expected earnings on Saturday, bolstered by strong revenue growth in its oil and gas business and higher margins in its core refining business.
Merger-related news also boosted some shares. Kotak Mahindra Bank rose 0.6 percent after it said on Sunday it would buy a 15 percent stake in Multi Commodity Exchange of India (MCX) for 4.59 billion rupees ($76.1 million).
MCX closed 7.87 percent higher, its highest since June 2013.
Mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corp HDFC.NS rose 2.78 percent, gaining for a second consecutive session on speculation it would be merged into HDFC Bank Ltd.
The shares gained even as HDFC Bank Deputy Managing Director Paresh Sukthankaron told reporters the bank was not discussing a merger with HDFC as of now.
HDFC HDFC.NS reported a 21 percent fall in April-June earnings from a year earlier, while HDFC Bank reported a 21 percent increase in June-quarter earnings. Shares of the lender were down 0.6 percent.
Consumer stocks also gained on defensive buying as investors were looking to cut risk in portfolios. ITC Ltd ITC.NS gained 1.7 percent while Hindustan Unilever Ltd HLL.NS ended 0.81 percent higher.
Power companies were among the stocks which declined. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd BHEL.NS ended 1.5 percent lower, adding to its 1.9 percent fall on Friday, while Tata Power Co. Ltd ended 1.9 percent lower, declining further from a 2.5 percent fall on Friday.
(Reporting by Indulal PM; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)
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