March 26, 2020 / 10:43 AM / in 15 days

Indian stocks close higher, off session's highs as relief package fails to impress

(Updates to closing levels)

BENGALURU, March 26 (Reuters) - Indian shares closed up on Thursday for a third straight session, but slipped from the day’s highs after the government’s 1.7 trillion rupee ($22.58 billion) relief package for the poor amid a nationwide lockdown failed to impress investors.

Two days after India ordered a 21-day nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the virus outbreak, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced relief for the poor that included direct cash transfers and food security measures.

Both the NSE Nifty 50 index and S&P BSE Sensex paired some gains as the finance minister addressed the media, but regained some ground toward the end of the session.

Nifty closed up 3.89% at 8,641.45, and Sensex finished the session 4.94% higher at 29,946.15.

During the day, Nifty rose as much as 5.2% and Sensex surged 5.5%.

Aiding sentiment across global financial markets was a $2 trillion virus relief bill approved by the U.S. Senate.

In Mumbai, financial stocks were the biggest boost with shares of Indusind Bank Ltd closing nearly 45% higher.

The Nifty Bank index finished the day over 6% higher.

$1 = 75.2900 Indian rupees Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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