Indian shares close near 4-month highs as Reliance boosts – News

Reliance at record closing high after Intel investment.

Indian shares ended at near four-month highs on Friday, boosted by Reliance Industries Ltd after Intel Corp agreed to invest in the Asian conglomerate’s digital unit, although a record spike in domestic Covid-19 cases curbed gains.

The benchmark indexes finished higher for a third consecutive session, with the NSE Nifty 50 index rising 0.53 per cent to 10,607.35 and the S&P BSE Sensex advancing 0.5 per cent to 36,021.42. Both indexes notched their third straight weekly gain.

Index heavyweight Reliance Industries climbed 1.6 per cent to an all-time closing high after the investment arm of US chipmaker Intel decided to pay some $255 million to buy a 0.39 per cent stake in the digital unit, Jio Platforms.

However, business mood was dampened by reports of domestic Covid-19 cases jumping by a record 20,903 infections to 625,544, including 18,213 deaths.

“People on the ground have started realising that many people in their first degree of connection are now coming down with Covid-19, and the fear of what another lockdown will do to industries is the biggest overhanging worry for investors,” said Nikhil Kamath, co-founder and chief investment officer at stock broker Zerodha.

The Nifty and Sensex have rebounded sharply from a coronavirus-fuelled slump in March, but remain around 13 per cent lower for the year.

Financials stocks were among the worst performers on Friday, with HDFC Bank Ltd and IndusInd Bank Ltd dropping around 1.5 per cent each.

Global markets inched higher after data showed a brisk pickup in Chinese service sector activity in June and as US nonfarm payrolls saw a better-than-expected jump.

Closer home in Mumbai, power plant equipment maker Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd soared 5.3per cent after India tightened scrutiny around power supply equipment imports from its neighbours, particularly China.

Telecom operator Bharti Airtel topped gains on the Nifty 50 with a 4.1 per cent jump that took the stock to its best closing level since June 8.

JSW Steel Ltd was the worst performer, slumping 1.8 per cent after reporting a drop in June steel production. – Reuters

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