Indian shares hit all-time high as country approves COVID-19 vaccines

NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.48% to 14,085.45 and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.40% to 48,058.70.

Indian shares scaled new peaks on January 4, kicking off the first trading week of the new year, as investor sentiment was upbeat after the country gave emergency use approval to two coronavirus vaccines over the weekend.

The blue chip NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.48% to 14,085.45 and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.40% to 48,058.70 by 0454 GMT.

India, which has the second-highest number of coronavirus infections in the world, on January 3 approved for emergency use two coronavirus vaccines – one developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and the other by Bharat Biotech.

The vaccine approvals and the nationwide vaccine delivery trial run being carried out without any major glitches were positives, said Gaurav Garg, head of research at Capital Via Global Research in Indore.

“More details (on India’s vaccination plans) are coming out…it might take only 6-10 months for everybody to get vaccines,” Mr. Garg added.

In Mumbai trading, the Nifty Bank Index rose 0.67% and the Nifty IT index was up 0.85%.

Tata Motors was among the biggest percentage gainers on the Nifty 50, rising 2.7%, after the company on January 1 reported a 21% rise in December domestic sales.

Rail coach and mining equipment maker BEML rose as much as 8.1%. The government has invited initial bids from private firms for a 26% stake in the company.

Conglomerate Reliance Industries fell 0.5% and was the biggest drag to the Nifty 50. India’s markets regulator on January 1 fined the company and its chairman Mukesh Ambani for alleged fraudulent trades while selling a stake in a unit in 2007. The company on January 4 also said it has sought the government’s intervention to stop vandalism against its telecom infrastructure.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan hit a record high on hopes that the roll-out of coronavirus vaccines will eventually help revive the global economy.

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