July 21, 2020 / 5:29 AM / 19 days ago

Indian shares rise on virus vaccine hopes; auto, energy stocks gain

* Nifty, Sensex up 1% each

* ACC rises 7% after profit beats estimates

* Domestic virus cases at 1.16 mln as of Tuesday morning

By Chris Thomas

BENGALURU, July 21 (Reuters) - Indian stocks rose for a fifth straight session on Tuesday, led by automaker and energy stocks, as hopes for a COVID-19 vaccine and strong earnings momentum eclipsed fears over surging domestic cases.

The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.95% to 11,126.3 by 0504 GMT, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was up 0.99% at 37,791.24, after hitting their highest levels since March 5 in early trade.

Wall Street gained overnight and Asian shares rose further on hopes that vaccines against the COVID-19 disease might be ready by the end of year, following promising early data from trials of three candidates.

This helped offset concerns over a surge in coronavirus cases in Asia’s third largest economy to 1.16 million as of Tuesday morning, including 28,084 deaths, according to government data https://www.mohfw.gov.in.

“Markets have been positively surprised by earnings from some of the index movers this quarter, and it also doesn’t look like we are going to see any major setback in global markets which have continuously supported domestic sentiment,” said Ajit Mishra, vice president, research at Religare Broking Ltd, New Delhi.

“However... the upside may be capped now and we may see some consolidation and profit taking.”

Cement maker ACC Ltd surged 7% to a near five-month high after reporting profit that beat estimates.

The Nifty PSU Bank Index, which tracks state-owned lenders, was the best sectoral performer, rising as much as 2.7%, after Reuters reported that India is looking to privatise more than half of its state-owned banks.

Bank of India surged 9.6%, while Central Bank of India jumped 18.1%. Private-sector lender ICICI Bank Ltd rose 3.1%.

Shares of automakers Maruti Suzuki India Ltd and Eicher Motors Ltd climbed 3.8% each, pushing the Nifty Auto Index 1.9% higher.

Refiner BPCL was the top gainer on the Nifty, rising as much as 6.2%, while conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd rose 2.2%. (Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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