* NSE and BSE indexes up 0.4 pct
* Auto stocks rally, Tata Motors up 3 pct
* Gains track rally in Asian peers
By Samantha Kareen Nair
March 2 (Reuters) - The broader NSE index on Thursday hit its highest in nearly two years and moved close to breaching a key psychological level of 9,000 on continued hopes about the domestic economy after auto manufacturers reported higher sales.
Sentiment was also boosted as Asian stocks inched to a 19-month high, a day after Wall Street hit record highs as investors were encouraged by President Donald Trump’s less-combative tone in his first speech to Congress.
The global rally is coming at a time of growing hopes about India’s own economy. Data on Tuesday showed annual gross domestic product (GDP) in the October-December quarter was much stronger than expected, cheering market sentiment despite widespread scepticism by economists.
Auto shares such as Tata Motors Ltd gained after reporting higher monthly sales, further raising hopes about the economy.
“There is a positive underlining sentiment in the Indian market,” said Tirthankar Patnaik, India strategist, Mizuho Bank.
As of 0600 GMT, the NSE index was up 0.4 percent, after climbing as much as 0.52 percent to 8,992.50, its highest since March 4, 2015.
The benchmark BSE index gained as much as 0.56 percent to 29,145.62, its highest since March 13, 2015.
The Nifty Auto index was the best performing sector, with Tata Motors rising 3 percent after posting a two percent jump in February total sales.
Shares of Wockhardt Ltd declined as much as 6.5 percent, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning letter to the company’s Morton Grove plant, which will withhold all FDA approvals until a resolution is made. (Reporting By Samantha Kareen Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)