Sensex, Nifty settle higher; banks, Reliance support gains
Photo Credit: Reuters

Indian shares closed higher for a third consecutive session on Wednesday, as financial stocks gained and heavyweight Reliance Industries Ltd rose after taking a majority stake in licensed e-pharma portal Netmeds.

The NSE Nifty 50 index closed 0.2% up at 11,408.40, highest since Feb. 27, and the S&P BSE Sensex closed 0.22% up at 38,614.79, highest since March 3.

Gains seen in other Asian markets after the S&P 500 index closed at an all-time high overnight also supported sentiment.

In Mumbai trading, Reliance Industries Ltd closed up 0.87% and was among the top boosts on both indexes after it bought a majority stake in Netmeds for $83 million.

Broadcaster Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd closed up 13.14% and was the top gainer on the Nifty 50 index a day after it named a new chairman.

Among sectoral indexes, the Nifty PSU bank index rallied the most and closed 2.36% higher, led by a 6.13% rise in Indian Overseas Bank.

On Tuesday, sources said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office has asked officials to speed up the process of cutting government stakes in at least four primarily state-owned banks.

Bank of Maharashtra Ltd and IDBI Bank Ltd, who are among the four lenders on the list, closed 3.32% and 0.63% higher, respectively.

Private sector lender CSB Bank Ltd closed up nearly 13% after reporting a rise in quarterly profit.

Indian Oil Corporation Ltd finished the session 1.15% higher after rising as much as 2.3%. Sources on Wednesday told Reuters the top refiner was close to winning its first contract to export clean products to Mauritius.

Wednesday's market gains come despite an unabated rise in domestic coronavirus cases. Total number of cases in India stood at 2.77 million and deaths at 52,889, as of Wednesday morning.

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