India’s Sensex Clocks Longest Stretch of Weekly Gains Since 2018
A bronze bull at the entrance to the BSE building in Mumbai. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

India’s Sensex Clocks Longest Stretch of Weekly Gains Since 2018

India’s stocks rose on the last trading day of the week, with the benchmark index clocking its longest stretch of weekly gains since January 2018, as investors favored prospects for economic growth against risks posed by a new virus strain.

The S&P BSE Sensex climbed 1.1% to a record high of 46,973.54, erasing the week’s losses, led by a measure of energy stocks that rose the most in a month. The NSE Nifty 50 Index also advanced 1.1%.

“There’s a huge opportunity for run-up in Indian stocks” with the country set to grow quicker than most other economies in 2021, Praveen Jagwani, chief executive officer of UTI International Singapore Pte., told Bloomberg Television.

The market is closed on Friday for the Christmas holiday.

While India’s economy is showing signs of stabilizing, a new strain of coronavirus spreading through Europe has caused market jitters. The Sensex fell from a record high this week, with information technology and health care stocks -- the so-called pandemic winners -- among the few gainers, as the U.K. extended a lockdown to curb the fresh outbreak.

“News around Covid 19 is resurfacing globally, and we would recommend caution at this juncture,” said Nikhil Kamath, chief investment officer at True Beacon, an India-based hedge fund. “Patient investors will find better opportunities to come back into the market.”

Passive flows have helped push India’s equity valuations to historical highs. The U.S.-listed iShares MSCI India ETF saw inflows for eight straight days through Dec. 22, the longest streak since March 2017, Bloomberg-compiled data show.

The yield on the most-traded 5.77% 2030 sovereign bond rose three basis points to 5.98%, while the rupee strengthened 0.3% to 73.5475 per dollar.

The Numbers

  • Fifteen of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. advanced
  • Twenty Sensex shares gained and ten slumped with Axis Bank Ltd. as best performer with 3% gain
  • Reliance Industries Ltd. contributed the most to the index advance, increasing 2.6%
  • Mrs Bectors Food Specialities Ltd. jumped 107% to more than double on listing day

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