December 19, 2018 / 6:18 AM / a month ago

Nifty, Sensex post seventh session of gains; financials lead

A guard walks past the NSE (National Stock Exchange) building in Mumbai, February 9, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

(Reuters) - Indian shares ended higher on Wednesday, underpinned by financials, after the central bank announced liquidity injection via open market bond purchase for January, and as crude prices hovered near 14-month lows.

The benchmark BSE Sensex closed 0.38 percent firmer at 36,484.33. The broader NSE Nifty ended 0.54 percent higher at 10,967.3.

Both the indexes recorded a seventh straight session of gains, with the Nifty clocking its best rally since a nine-day streak in April.

Markets received a boost after the Reserve Bank of India announced a higher-than-expected 500 billion rupees ($7.13 billion) of open market bond purchases for next month, reinforcing expectations that the central bank was turning dovish under Shaktikanta Das who was appointed as governor last week.

Softer crude prices have also strengthened India’s macro-economic indicators, including inflation and its trade deficit, given the South Asian nation imports some two-thirds of its oil needs.

Axis Bank Ltd and Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd, which were among the top gainers on the NSE index, closed up 3.33 percent and 7.85 percent, respectively.

The 10-year benchmark bond yield was at a more-than-eight-month low of 7.25 percent, while the rupee was trading at 70.37 to the dollar, after climbing to 69.85 earlier in the session.

Markets will also keep a close watch and look for cues on rate hikes from the U.S Federal Reserve meeting, which concludes later in the day.

Reporting By Arnab Paul in BENGALURU, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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