Indian shares rise over 1%; multiplexes surge on reopening boost

BENGALURU, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Indian shares rose on Thursday, led by media stocks, after the federal government allowed states to open movie theatres, while the government of Maharashtra, home to the financial capital Mumbai, said it would reopen bars and restaurants.

By 0520 GMT, the broader NSE Nifty 50 index rose 1.3% to 11,398.50 and the S&P BSE Sensex gained 1.5% to 38,637.38.

India’s federal government on Wednesday allowed states to reopen movie theatres at 50% capacity and said schools and educational institutions could restart in a phased manner.

Shares in India’s top cinema chains PVR Ltd and INOX Leisure jumped 9% and 7.8%, respectively, pushing the Nifty media index higher by 3.4%.

“The unlocking will certainly help as the entire problem has been COVID-19 related. But, the only concern is (that) the number of cases are not coming under control,” said Anita Gandhi, director at Arihant Capital Markets.

The government maintaining its borrowing plan and latest manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) data that showed a comeback in the country’s factory activity also helped the markets, Gandhi said.

India will stick to its borrowing plan of 12 trillion rupees ($163.47 billion) for the current fiscal year, while the country’s factory activity in September expanded at its fastest pace in more than eight years, a private survey showed.

Bajaj Auto’s shares rose 3% after it reported a 10% surge in September sales. Maruti Suzuki gained 2% following a 31% jump in sales last month. Other auto companies will announce their September sales data later in the day.

Shares of Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd and Oil India Ltd fell 1.5%, each, after India cut the price of locally produced gas for October 2020-March 2021 to a multi-year low. ($1 = 73.4100 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)