May 5, 2020 / 5:34 AM / a month ago

Indian shares track global surge as lockdowns eased; Reliance jumps

BENGALURU, May 5 (Reuters) - Indian shares, led by Reliance Industries and HDFC Bank, tracked world markets higher on Tuesday, as the easing of coronavirus lockdowns in some countries spurred hopes of a restart in economic activity.

The NSE Nifty 50 index was up 0.93% at 9,379.45 by 0505 GMT, while the S&P BSE Sensex was 0.92% higher at 32,007.04. The indexes had fallen nearly 6% on Monday.

The easing of lockdowns comes amid dour forecasts for global economic growth as the coronavirus pandemic shuts down factories and dampens demand.

“With economies gradually opening up and a lot of movement and activity having started - that should lead to some improvement in demand,” said Siddhartha Khemka, head of research for retail at Motilal Oswal Financial Services in Mumbai.

India’s lockdown, among the world’s strictest, has seen millions struggle without income. It is set to stay until May 17, although some places with fewer infections have seen the easing of some restrictions since Monday.

As of Tuesday, the country had more than 45,000 cases and 1,500 deaths.

The broad-based rally in Indian shares saw oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd climb 2.6%, while India’s largest private-sector lender HDFC Bank Ltd rose 1%. The stocks were the two biggest boosts to the Nifty 50 on Tuesday.

The Nifty energy index was the top gainer among the 12 sectoral indexes, with a 2.8% jump as crude prices rose. State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp rose 6.1%, climbing the most among stocks in the index.

Equities across Asia followed a late Wall Street surge on Monday, after the easing of lockdown restrictions in Italy and parts of the United States.

Most world markets had slumped on Monday amid fears that a U.S.-China spat over the origin of the coronavirus outbreak could cause a new trade war. (Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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