Indian shares extended their record-breaking run on Thursday with auto stocks rallying on expectations of lower interest rates after a better monsoon forecast eased inflation fears in a country that depends heavily on rains to irrigate its farmlands. Strong regional markets, tracking a record high close on MSCI’s global stocks benchmark following strong gains in oil prices, also helped sentiment. The broader NSE index rose as much as 0.46 percent to 9,450.65, while the benchmark BSE index gained as much 0.39 percent to 30,366.43, hitting record highs for a second consecutive day.
The NSE Auto index gained 1.02 percent, led by gains in Eicher Motors, up as much as 3.84 percent at 28940 rupees, its highest ever. Earlier in the week, the head of the country’s weather office, forecast a higher monsoon rainfall as concerns over the El Nino weather condition eased, raising prospects of higher farm and economic growth. A better-than-expected monsoon could also keep inflation in check, reducing the prospects of a tighter interest rate regime.
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“The main reason for yesterday’s and today’s rally on the indexes is the positive monsoon rainfall forecast,” said Siddharth Sedani, head and vice president, equity advisory at Anand Rathi. The monsoon delivers about 70 percent of India’s annual rainfall and is a critical factor as nearly half of the country’s farmland lacks irrigation.
Two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp Ltd was up 2.1 percent while rival Bajaj Auto Ltd rose 2 percent on hopes good monsoon rains will boost sales, especially in the rural markets. TVS Motor Co ltd gained 1.03 percent.
Banks also gained as investors pinned their hopes on easing bad loans in coming quarters after the government tweaked its laws last week to help tackle the record $150 billion in troubled bank debts. “The ordinance is definitely having a positive impact,” Sedani said. The Nifty PSU bank index rose as much as 0.91 percent. State Bank of India and Bank of Baroda climbed 0.8 percent and 1 percent, respectively. The NSE index was last up 0.42 percent while the BSE index was last up 0.36 percent.
(Reporting by Samantha Kareen Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Vyas Mohan)