Indian shares hit record highs as Biden win boosts IT stocks, Asian markets

BENGALURU, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Indian markets touched record highs on Monday as IT stocks gained after a report said that U.S. President-elect Joe Biden planned to ease policy on work visas, with his victory also boosting broader Asian markets and aiding domestic sentiment.

The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 1.33% by 0430 GMT and the S&P BSE Sensex index gained 1.38%. Both the indexes recorded all-time highs when they scaled 42,474.97 and 12,430.9, respectively.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside of Japan jumped 1.3%, the highest since January 2018, after Biden’s win raised expectations of fewer regulatory changes and more monetary stimulus.

“Investors feel that with this new president, there will be more flexibility on the policy front,” said Anita Gandhi, director at Arihant Capital Markets in Mumbai.

The Nifty IT index rose as much as 2% after news portal Moneycontrol published a report here sourced from PTI on Sunday which said Biden planned to increase limits on H-1B work visas. Such visas help firms employ Indian workers in the United States.

“This (policy) will help the many Indian IT employees working overseas,” Arihant’s Gandhi said.”

IT sector heavyweight Infosys gained nearly 3%.

Banking stocks were also among the session’s top gainers. The sector’s main sub-index rose about 2.4% and was up for a sixth consecutive session.

Private-sector lender ICICI Bank gained 3.6%, and Axis Bank rose 2.8%.

Drugmaker Divi's Labs rose as much as 6.11% after the company on Saturday reported here a higher profit for the September-quarter. The Nifty pharma index jumped 1.6%.

Among the major decliners were drugmaker Cipla and cigarettes-to-hotels conglomerate ITC Ltd. Both the companies reported results on Friday. (Reporting by Derek Francis in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)