August 9, 2018 / 6:17 AM / 9 months ago

Indian shares rise, BSE index breaches 38,000

* NSE index up 0.12 pct, BSE index up 0.24 pct

* ICICI Bank top gainer on Nifty

* Cipla, HPCL and BPCL rise on strong Q1 results

By Abinaya Vijayaraghavan

Aug 9 (Reuters) - Indian shares rose to fresh highs on Thursday, with the benchmark BSE index crossing the 38,000 level for the first time, driven by financial stocks such as ICICI Bank Ltd and State Bank of India.

India’s third-biggest lender by assets, ICICI Bank, gained as much as 8.5 percent to 345.85 rupees, its highest since February 1.

In response to a media report on Tuesday that said ICICI masked its bad loans via change in accounting policy, the company said on Wednesday it had made full disclosure in its annual report, investor presentations and analysts calls.

“The banking sector is taking the lead, so the Nifty and the Sensex are cruising” said Siddharth Sedani, Vice President, Head Equity Advisory, Anand Rathi.

The broader NSE index was up 0.12 percent at 11462.15 as of 0547 GMT while the benchmark BSE index was 0.24 percent higher at 37979.15. The indexes hit record highs earlier in the session.

India's central bank on Wednesday approved the transfer of surplus amounting to 500 billion rupees to the government.

“Banking sector is doing well because treasury incomes will improve on the amount given by RBI to the government, which will improve the treasury income for the banks”, Sedani added.

Meanwhile, drugmaker Cipla Ltd’s shares rose as much as 4.7 percent to 662.5 rupees, its highest since Nov 2017, after its first-quarter profit topped estimates.

Shares of Indian state-owned oil refining and marketing companies Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd climbed as much as 3.6 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively, on strong quarterly results.

Reporting by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru; Editing by Vyas Mohan

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