Indian shares rise as financials gain, blue-chip earnings in focus

BENGALURU, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Indian shares rose on Friday, driven by gains in banks and conglomerate Reliance Industries, with investors focused on U.S. stimulus talks and earnings reports from domestic blue-chip companies due later in the day.

The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.5% to 11,953.7 by 0444 GMT, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was up 0.44% at 40,726.46. Both the indexes were set for weekly gains of more than 1% each.

Asian peers were little changed as the final debate between U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden offered little to impress investors.

“Markets are going to be on the sidelines until the U.S. elections are over, since no one really knows what the outcome is going to be, and progress in stimulus there may depend on the outcome,” said Umesh Mehta, head of research at Samco Securities in Mumbai.

“We may see marginal gains in domestic markets in the absence of any major negative news.”

In Mumbai, HDFC Bank Ltd and ICICI Bank Ltd rose 1.2% and 1.8%, respectively, while Reliance Industries Ltd, India’s largest company, gained 1.3%.

Investors were awaiting earnings reports from Nifty components Nestle India Ltd, Tech Mahindra Ltd and JSW Steel Ltd.

Corporate results this week, dominated by consumer goods firms, have been a mixed bag, although most expected a rise in demand going forward.

Credit card company SBI Cards and Payment Services Ltd tumbled 10% to a ten-week low after reporting a lower profit and a sharp drop in asset quality in the September quarter.

The Reserve Bank of India is slated to release the minutes of the October monetary policy meeting later in the day, which markets will be watching for further clues on the central bank’s view of the economy and also the stances of new committee members. (Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)