Nifty, Sensex jump over 2% as Reliance Industries soars on Facebook deal
Photo Credit: Reuters

Indian shares ended sharply higher on Wednesday, driven by a 10% surge in Reliance Industries Ltd after Facebook invested $5.7 billion in the conglomerate's digital business.

The NSE Nifty 50 index closed 2.29% higher at 9,187, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was up 2.42% at 31,379.5.

Shares of heavyweight Reliance Industries hit a near eight-week closing high and accounted for nearly half the gains on the Nifty 50 after Facebook bought a 10% stake in the company's digital business, helping billionaire Mukesh Ambani's company reduce its huge debt pile.

Investor sentiment was also supported by a higher open for Europe's main stock markets and hints of progress on a programme of government stimulus domestically.

While US and European governments have spent trillions of dollars to offset the economic impact of the crisis, India has so far announced only one round of budget stimulus worth about $23 billion to provide free cooking gas cylinders, grains and some cash to the country's poor.

Indian media had speculated that the government would announce a package of support for businesses on Wednesday, but minister Prakash Javadekar said after a cabinet meeting that the package would be announced as and when it is designed.

Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd rose 2% after the private-sector lender approved a capital-raising plan, while cement maker ACC Ltd climbed 8.2% after reporting a better-than-expected quarterly profit.

Consumer goods giant Hindustan Unilever Ltd was up 3%, paint manufacturer Asian Paints Ltd jumped 5% to a near six-week closing high, and Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd surged 17.5%.

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