* NSE, FMCG indexes hit record highs
* ITC top gainer on the NSE index
* PSU Bank index hit by profit-booking
By Arnab Paul
March 17 India's Nifty 50 index rose as
much as 0.7 percent to a record high on Friday as shares of
consumer goods rallied after the country's Goods and Services
Tax council cleared all draft bills, although gains were curbed
The council, composed of federal and state ministers on
Thursday, cleared five draft bills linked to the GST, which will
create a national sales tax. It will be submitted to the
parliament and state assemblies for approval.
Analysts said GST would benefit fast-moving consumer goods
(FMCG) and transportation companies through a one-size-fits-all
national sales tax, which would mean these firms will no longer
have to meet tax requirements of different states.
Market sentiment has been bolstered as Prime Minister
Narendra Modi's ruling party won the key state elections in
Uttar Pradesh, and after the U.S. Federal Reserve stuck to its
planned tightening pace this year.
"The implementation of GST will benefit FMCG and logistics
companies," said Mahantesh Marilinga, senior research analyst,
"The rally in the market is expected to continue until the
fourth-quarter results are out."
The broader NSE index hit a record high of 9,218.4, but
pared gains to trade 0.02 percent higher at 9,153.05.
The benchmark BSE index rose as much as 0.81
percent to 29,824.62, its highest since March 4, 2015.
The Nifty 50 index has gained 2.77 percent so far this week,
while the BSE index has climbed 2.72 percent, in what could be
its highest weekly gain since the end of January.
The rupee also eased after hitting a 17-month high
on Thursday, trading at 65.5575/5600 from its close of 65.42.
The Nifty FMCG index surged 4 percent to a
record high after cigarette maker ITC Ltd rose as much
as 7.34 percent within the first hour of trade. ITC contributed
to more than half of the NSE index's gains.
But profit-taking capped gains on sectors such as
state-owned banks and auto. The Nifty PSU Bank index
and Nifty Auto index slid 1.1 percent and 0.7
percent after gaining for three and five straight sessions
(Arnab Paul in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)