July 23, 2020 / 4:32 AM / 19 days ago

Sensex, Nifty end higher on trade deal hopes; Reliance jumps

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian shares climbed on Thursday as signs of New Delhi and Washington getting closer to agreeing to a trade deal amid escalating Sino-U.S. tensions buoyed sentiment, while Reliance Industries gained on reports of a potential investment by Amazon.

The Bombay Stock Exchange building is seen from a facade in Mumbai, May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas/Files

The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.74% to 11,215.45 and the S&P BSE Sensex gained 0.71% to 38,140.47.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged India on Wednesday to reduce its dependence on China, a day after India’s commerce minister, Piyush Goyal, said the countries were nearing a trade deal after two years of negotiations.

Reuters also reported on Tuesday that India sought concessions for generic drugs it exports to the United States in return for opening its dairy markets and slashing tariffs on farm goods as the two sides sought to shore up the trade deal.

The Nifty pharma index gained 1.4% on Thursday. Generic drugmaker Cipla was up 1.4% and Dr. Reddy’s Labs advanced 1.6%.

Reliance Industries surged as much as 3.8% after television channel ET Now reported that Amazon.com Inc was in talks to buy a 9.9% stake in Reliance Retail.

India’s most valuable stock, Reliance, touched a fresh record high in the session and its market cap crossed 13 trillion rupees ($173.88 billion) after the news.

The Nifty energy index gained 1.5% and was the top percentage gainers among sectors.

Among stocks, Eicher Motors topped the gainers on the Nifty, rising 4.9% and Axis Bank was the top laggard, shedding 3.8%

The gains in equities came as India reported 45,720 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 1.24 million by Thursday morning, according to government data https://www.mohfw.gov.in.

($1 = 74.7637 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Derek Francis in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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