Indian shares book fourth straight weekly gain on government support boost

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: A broker reacts while trading at his computer terminal at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai

By Soumyajit Saha

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian shares retreated from record highs on Friday but posted their fourth straight week of gains as a series of government support schemes boosted sentiment across sectors.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index index ended down 0.3% at 17,585.15, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.2% to 59,015.89.

Both the indexes gained more than 1.2% for the week, extending a run that has made them the best performing Asian equities so far this year thanks to an accommodative monetary policy and easing COVID-19 curbs.

"There is also support from an expected postponement of the tapering of bond-buying as inflation remains under control ... liquidity continues to pour in," said KK Mittal, an investment advisor at Venus India.

Banking stocks were among the top performers this week, rising 3%. The gains came after the finance ministry on Thursday announced a 306.00 billion rupees ($4.16 bln) guarantee for securities to be issued by a newly incorporated "bad bank," the latest attempt to clean up the country's pile of bad loans.

The subindex ended 0.4% higher on Friday to register four consecutive sessions of gains.

Banks with exposure to debt-laden telecom companies also benefited from a government relief package for the sector unveiled on Wednesday.

The S&P BSE Telecom index ended 0.9% higher on Friday and advanced 6.7% for the week.

Auto stocks notched a weekly gain of 2.4%, helped by the federal cabinet approving an incentive scheme for the sector aimed at boosting the production of electric and hydrogen fuel-powered vehicles.

Among the big movers on Friday, airline operator InterGlobe Aviation rose 10.9% after regulatory data showed passenger growth jumping in August as COVID-related travel restrictions eased.

Rival SpiceJet advanced 3.4%.

(Reporting by Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Gaurav Dogra; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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