March 5, 2020 / 11:08 AM / a month ago

Indian shares track Asian peers higher; virus fears cap gains

* NSE, BSE indexes close 0.16% higher

* Coronavirus cases in India touch 29 by Wednesday

* Yes Bank surges over 25%

BENGALURU, March 5 (Reuters) - Indian shares climbed on Thursday in tandem with broader Asian markets, lifted by banking and consumer stocks, though a sharp spike in coronavirus cases capped gains.

Sentiment, however, was subdued as the total number of known coronavirus cases in India rose sharply to 29 on Wednesday, leaving investors cautious about its impact on Asia’s third-largest economy.

The broader NSE Nifty 50 index ended up 0.16% at 11,269, while the S&P BSE Sensex also closed up 0.16% at 38,470.61.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.7% after the U.S. Federal Reserve rate cut offered investors some salve for the global economic outlook.

European shares also fell on Thursday, after a surge in virus cases in the United States led to a drop in equity futures on Wall Street, implying a lower open for U.S. markets.

In the domestic market, the Nifty banking index closed up 0.56% with Yes Bank surging over 25% on reports that the country’s biggest lender State Bank of India would inject funds into the troubled private-sector bank.

Consumer heavyweight Hindustan Unilever ended 1.94% higher and was the top boost to the Nifty FMCG index , which closed up 1.05%.

Zee Entertainment, the biggest laggard of the session and closed 5.4% lower.

Reporting by Derek Francis in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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