MUMBAI The BSE Sensex rose for a sixth session on Wednesday, marking its highest close in near 4-1/2 weeks, as SBI rose on hopes of better asset quality in September quarter results, while other lenders such as ICICI Bank rose in anticipation of better loan growth in the holiday season.
The gains also tracked a rally in global shares after U.S. President Barack Obama was re-elected, signalling no dramatic shift in U.S. economic policy. Attention now switches to Greece where parliament votes later in the day on an austerity package.
"U.S President Barack Obama's re-election is sentimentally positive for India and Indian markets," said R.K Gupta, managing director at Taurus Mutual Fund.
However, with the quarterly earnings season nearing its end and euphoria over government reforms subsides, focus would shift to India's yawning fiscal gap, dealers said.
India will likely miss its revised fiscal deficit target for the financial year ending in March, a Reuters poll showed, putting a question mark over the country's efforts to avert a credit rating downgrade.
Investors would now start scrutinising the government's fiscal condition amid worries if reforms in insurance and pension will pass muster in the winter session of parliament, Gupta added.
The Sensex rose 0.45 percent, or 85.03 points, to end at 18,902.41, bringing its gains to 2.55 percent over the past six sessions.
The 50-share Nifty rose 0.62 percent, or 35.70 points, to 5,760.10, marking its highest close since October 4.
State Bank of India rose 2 percent on hopes of better-than-expected results and lower non-performing loans in the September quarter, with results due on Friday.
The bank's chairman, Pratip Chaudhuri, said SBI's September quarter non-performing asset position was looking better than that of the June quarter.
Among other financial stocks ICICI Bank (ICBK.NS) rose 1.1 percent, while Housing Development and Finance Corporation (HDFC.NS) settled 2 percent higher, after hitting a 52-week high of 805.85 rupees intraday.
Jubilant Foodworks (JUBI.NS), a fast food chain operator, rose 2.93 percent after the company reported a surge of 36.67 percent in September quarter net profit to 323.5 million rupees.
Reliance Capital (RLCP.NS) gained 3.03 percent after reporting July-September net profit of 4.01 billion rupees versus 330 million rupees in the year-ago quarter.
However, Bharti Airtel (BRTI.NS) shares fell 1 percent, after earlier rising as much as 2.6 percent, as investors factored in a one-off gain related to a telecom tribunal's judgment that boosted revenue and profit. <I D :nL3E8M7925>
Bharti's consolidated net profit fell 30 percent from a year earlier to 7.21 billion rupees for the three months to September, despite a one-off gain of 2.39 billion rupees from an outstanding dispute over inter-connect charges.
Shares in Cadila Healthcare (CADI.NS) fell 3.14 percent after reporting a 7.34 percent fall in July-September earnings, as a forex loss affected results.
Tata Power Co Ltd (TTPW.NS) fell 2.5 percent after posting a surprise second-quarter loss on Tuesday, hit by higher finance and depreciation costs at its power projects and lower revenue from its coal units.
The company posted a consolidated net loss of 838 million rupees, compared with a net loss of 11.9 billion rupees a year earlier. Revenue rose 22 percent to 76.5 billion rupees, helped by the commissioning of new units.
(Additional reporting by Manoj Dharra; Editing by Jijo Jacob)