* NSE index up 0.18 pct, BSE index 0.25 pct higher
* Tata Motors top gainer on indexes
* Forecast for normal monsoon rainfall lifts sentiment
By Jessica Kuruthukulangara
April 4 (Reuters) - Indian shares rose on Wednesday as strong monthly sales data lifted automobile stocks such as Tata Motors Ltd that led gains on key indexes, with sentiment also boosted by a forecast of normal monsoon rainfall this year.
Rainfall during the monsoon season is expected to be 100 percent of the long-term average, a private weather forecasting agency said earlier in the day, raising prospects of higher farm and economic growth in the $2 trillion economy.
The broader NSE index was up 0.18 percent at 10,263.35 as of 0541 GMT, while the benchmark BSE index was 0.25 percent higher at 33,452.45.
“There is a shift in the market towards quality growth and a shift to domestic consumption-focused sectors, particularly autos. Consumer-facing banking and private banking are also driving the move,” said Sunil Sharma, chief investment officer at Sanctum Wealth Management.
The Nifty auto index rose as much as 2 percent and was set to post a third consecutive session of gains.
Tata Motors climbed as much as 5.8 percent after Morgan Stanley said sales of Land Rovers in the United States grew 38 percent in March.
Eicher Motors Ltd rose as much as 3.8 percent on a higher production forecast for Royal Enfield motorcycles in the current fiscal year.
Private lenders also rose, with the Nifty private bank index climbing as much as 0.7 percent, ahead of a decision on monetary policy by India’s central bank. Yes Bank Ltd was up over 2 percent.
The Reserve Bank of India is expected to keep monetary policy steady at its April meeting but shift to a hawkish stance by the end of this year and raise interest rates early in 2019 as inflation pressures build, a Reuters poll showed.
Among other gainers, Jet Airways Ltd rose as much as 3.2 percent after it announced a deal with Boeing Co to buy 75 Boeing 737 MAX narrow-body jets.
Shares of ICICI Securities Ltd and state-run Mishra Dhatu Nigam Ltd, however, fell on market debut. (Reporting by Jessica Kuruthukulangara in Bengaluru; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)