Indian shares hit record highs on vaccine cheer

BENGALURU, Nov 10 (Reuters) - India’s main stock indexes hit record highs on Tuesday as progress in the development of a coronavirus vaccine raised hopes of a global economic recovery and helped airline and hotels stocks that have been hammered by the pandemic.

The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.7% to 12,553.7 by 0512 GMT and the S&P BSE Sensex gained 0.85% to 42,60.09, led by banking and financial stocks.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was 0.12% higher on news that Pfizer Inc’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine showed over 90% effectiveness based on initial trial results.

The U.S. drugmaker’s Indian arm Pfizer Ltd gained as much as 19.8% during the session.

“The vaccine news is a big relief for markets and investors are hoping that the economic recovery will take place sooner,” said Samrat Dasgupta, chief executive officer at Esquire Capital Investment Advisors.

“However, the next six months will be crucial as we see more developments on the vaccine.”

Stocks of IndiGo owner InterGlobe Aviation rose 5.3%, while hotel operators EIH Ltd and Lemon Tree jumped more than 5% each.

Investors hoped that the vaccine would help the travel and hospitality sectors return to normalcy after facing restrictions because of the coronavirus lockdowns, Esquire Capital’s Dasgupta said.

Among other sectors, the Nifty Bank index and the financials index climbed 2.4% each, rising for a seventh consecutive session.

Bajaj Finance gained 4.5% to top the gainers among the Nifty. Lenders ICICI Bank and IndusInd Bank added 3.8% and 4.6%, respectively.

Natural gas explorer GAIL (India) was up 2.3% ahead of its earnings scheduled for later in the day.

The Nifty IT index was the top drag among sectors and fell 2.8%. Tech Mahindra slid about 4%, while Infosys and HCL Technologies slipped around 3% each. (Reporting by Derek Francis in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)