July 17, 2020 / 5:22 AM / a month ago

REFILE-Indian shares gain on hopes of strong earnings momentum after upbeat HCL results

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* NSE index up 0.58%, BSE index 0.57% higher

* HCL rises as much as 2% after upbeat Q1 profit

* Coronavirus cases cross 1 mln

By Derek Francis

BENGALURU, July 17 (Reuters) - Indian shares rose on Friday, as investors hoped for strong corporate earnings to continue after HCL Technologies became the third IT major to report upbeat profit, offsetting concerns over surging domestic coronavirus cases that crossed the 1 million mark.

Rising for the third straight session, the NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.58% to 10,802.05 by 0448 GMT and the S&P BSE Sensex was up 0.57% at 36,678.72.

Coronavirus cases in the world’s second-most populous nation crossed 1 million as of Friday morning, and the number of deaths rose above 25,000, according to federal government data https://www.mohfw.gov.in.

“No amount of negativity looks to be bogging down the sentiment as of now,” said Anand James, chief market strategist at Geojit Financial Services, Kochi.

“There are also very little investment opportunities outside of the capital markets at the moment.”

Corporate earnings among blue-chip companies have so far been positive with IT majors Infosys, Wipro and HCL Technologies beating estimates and only Tata Consultancy Services missing.

HCL reported a better-than-expected profit for the first quarter and guided to a 1.5% to 2.5% quarter-over-quarter increase in revenue for the next three quarters, sending shares up as much as 2.2%.

Biscuit maker Britannia Industries rose as much as 2.16% ahead of its earnings scheduled later in the day.

“As opposed to previous quarterly responses to numbers, investors right now are looking far ahead and are hoping sector after sector will find ways to hold through during this rough weather,” James said.

Metal stocks led gains, with the Nifty metals index rising 2.5%. Steelmakers Tata Steel and JSW Steel advanced about 3.5% each.

Bharti Infratel rose about 4% and was the top gainer among stocks on the Nifty index.

Among laggards were IT stocks, which slipped into the red after two days of gains. The Nifty IT index fell 1.2%. Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services shed about 1.8% each. (Reporting by Derek Francis in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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