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Sensex, Nifty close higher as vaccine fuels recovery hopes
Photo Credit: Reuters

India's main stock indexes closed higher on Tuesday after scaling new peaks during the session as progress in the development of a coronavirus vaccine raised hopes for a global economic recovery, helping domestic airline and hotels stocks that have been hammered by the pandemic.

The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 1.36% to 12,631.1 and the S&P BSE Sensex ended 1.6% higher at 43,277.65, led by a rally among banking and financial stocks.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was 0.1% higher after Pfizer Inc said on Monday its experimental COVID-19 vaccine showed over 90% effectiveness based on initial trial results.

The U.S. drugmaker's Indian arm, Pfizer Ltd, gained as much as 19.8% during the session.

"While there have been previous announcements of a vaccine, a company like Pfizer coming with such a development and with high efficacy is quite positive for markets," said Ajit Mishra, vice-president at Religare Broking.

Shares of IndiGo-owner InterGlobe Aviation rose 8.9%, while those of hotel operators Indian Hotels and Lemon Tree rose 14% and nearly 10%, respectively.

GAIL (India) rose nearly 5% after its September-quarter profit beat estimates and the natural gas explorer approved raising 100 billion Indian rupees ($1.35 billion) through borrowings.

Among other sectors, the Nifty Bank index ended 3.9% higher and the financials index climbed 4.1%. Both indexes recorded gains for a seventh straight session.

Bajaj Finance gained 8.9% to top the gainers among the Nifty. The country's top lender, State Bank of India, rose 5.6% and IndusInd Bank added 7.7%.

Construction-to-software conglomerate Larsen and Toubro rose about 7%.

The Nifty pharma index fell 4.33%, dragged down by losses in drugmaker Cipla, which fell 5.4%.

The Nifty IT index fell 3.9%. Tech Mahindra slid about 5.7%, while Infosys shed 3.8% and HCL Technologies slipped around 5%.

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