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Indian shares rise for third day; metals stocks jump

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian shares ended up for a third straight session on Thursday, led by gains in metals and information technology stocks after the central bank’s accommodative monetary policy lifted investor sentiment amid a record surge in domestic COVID-19 cases.

A bird flies past the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai, India, January 31, 2020. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

India’s main stock indexes have been retreating from the record highs of February amid a resurgence in infections that has spurred curbs in some states and threatened to derail a nascent economic recovery. Infections jumped by another daily record on Thursday.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday kept interest rates at record lows and committed to a massive government bond purchase programme, helping keep share markets buoyant.

The NSE Nifty 50 index ended up 0.37% at 14,873, and the S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.2% to 49,746.21.

“It is becoming crazy for metal stocks. Everything is positive in the sector from fundamentals in China to rising prices,” said AK Prabhakar, head of research at IDBI Capital in Mumbai.

Metals stocks rose 3.92%, led by a 9.2% jump in JSW Steel after the steel maker reported a 6% rise in fourth-quarter production.

Steel prices in top steelmaker China hit a record high on Wednesday on strong domestic demand.

The metals index has gained over 38% so far this year against a 6.4% rise in the broader Nifty 50 index.

The Nifty IT index that tracks software services stocks climbed 1.2% on hopes of strong earnings from companies.

Meanwhile, several Indian states struggled to contain a second surge in COVID-19 infections, complaining of vaccine shortages and demanding inoculations be expanded to younger people.

Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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