* BSE index gains 0.29 pct; NSE index up 0.26 pct
* Kotak, MCX gain on merger-related news
* Corporate earnings to drive market in near term - analyst
By Indulal PM
MUMBAI, July 21 (Reuters) - Indian shares rose for a fifth consecutive session on Monday as Reliance Industries rallied after its quarterly earnings beat estimates, while merger-related news led to gains in some companies such Kotak Mahindra Bank.
Sentiment was also helped as overseas investors, who have supported a rally in Indian shares this year, were net buyers for a third consecutive session on Friday with purchases of 5.74 billion rupees ($95.22 million) despite concerns over escalating tensions between Russian and the West.
Still, trading is likely to remain range-bound, according to dealers, with investors continuing to monitor earnings including those from Axis Bank Ltd on Tuesday, and Ambuja Cements Ltd and ACC Ltd on Thursday.
“Right now, the markets are completely driven by corporate earnings. There are no immediate triggers left. It’s a time of consolidation and we will see stock-specific action in the near-term,” said Daljeet S Kholi, head of research at IndiaNivesh.
The benchmark BSE index rose 0.29 percent to 25,715.17, while the broader NSE index ended 0.26 percent higher at 7,684.20.
Reliance Industries Ltd rose 2.14 percent after it posted stronger-than-expected earnings on Saturday, bolstered by strong revenue growth in its oil and gas business and higher margins in its core refining business.
Merger-related news also boosted some shares. Kotak Mahindra Bank rose 0.6 percent after it said on Sunday it would buy a 15 percent stake in Multi Commodity Exchange of India (MCX) for 4.59 billion rupees ($76.1 million).
MCX closed 7.87 percent higher, its highest since June 2013.
Mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corp rose 2.78 percent, gaining for a second consecutive session on speculation it would be merged into HDFC Bank Ltd.
The shares gained even as HDFC Bank Deputy Managing Director Paresh Sukthankaron told reporters the bank was not discussing a merger with HDFC as of now.
HDFC reported a 21 percent fall in April-June earnings from a year earlier, while HDFC Bank reported a 21 percent increase in June-quarter earnings. Shares of the lender were down 0.6 percent.
Consumer stocks also gained on defensive buying as investors were looking to cut risk in portfolios. ITC Ltd gained 1.7 percent while Hindustan Unilever Ltd ended 0.81 percent higher.
Power companies were among the stocks which declined. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd ended 1.5 percent lower, adding to its 1.9 percent fall on Friday, while Tata Power Co. Ltd ended 1.9 percent lower, declining further from a 2.5 percent fall on Friday.
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FACTORS TO WATCH * Euro recovers against dollar; yen supported as stocks slip * Oil steadies around $107 after Iran talks extended * Ukraine nerves send European shares lower * Foreign institutional investor flows * For closing rates of Indian ADRs
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Reporting by Indulal PM; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi