September 3, 2018 / 6:57 AM / 2 months ago

Indian shares edge higher; Wipro jumps after record contract

* NSE index up 0.14 pct, BSE index 0.18 pct higher

* Wipro logs biggest intraday gain in over 5 years

* Some auto stocks gain on strong monthly sales data

By Chris Thomas

Sept 3 (Reuters) - Indian shares edged higher on Monday, driven by the software services sector after Wipro Ltd bagged its biggest contract, while strong economic data also boosted sentiment.

Annual economic growth surged to a more than two-year high of 8.2 percent in the June quarter, data released after market hours on Friday showed. Manufacturing and consumer spending drove the expansion, raising hopes that the rural economy was starting to turn around.

Though the GDP data is not “very positive” given that the base was low last year, it is contributing to the gains, said Vinod Nair, head of research at Geojit Financial Services.

The broader NSE index was up 0.14 percent at 11,697.35 as of 0622 GMT and the benchmark BSE index was 0.18 percent higher at 38,714.18. This came after both indexes posted their biggest monthly gain for August in four years.

Shares of Wipro jumped 8.6 percent in their biggest intraday gain since July 2013 after the company said on Sunday it had won a $1.5 billion contract from U.S.-based Alight Solutions.

“Compared to others in the sector, Wipro has underperformed, so the news of the deal has been taken very positively,” said Nair.

The Nifty IT index rose as much as 1.5 percent to a record high, with Infosys Ltd adding as much as 1.9 percent to an all-time peak.

Pharmaceutical stocks advanced with the Nifty Pharma Index rising 1.5 percent to its highest since April 2017. Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd climbed 4.8 percent, while Lupin Ltd rose 2.8 percent.

Some automakers also rose on the back of robust sales in August. Ashok Leyland Ltd and Bajaj Auto Ltd climbed 4.6 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively.

Among losers, Kotak Mahindra Bank and ICICI Bank Ltd declined 1.5 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.

Maruti Suzuki India Ltd fell 1.5 percent after the company posted a decline in August sales due to floods in the southern state of Kerala and heavy rains in other parts of the country. (Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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