* BSE index rises 0.8 pct; NSE index up 1.05 pct
* Both indexes post their biggest weekly gain since week ended Dec 20
* Cements, blue-chip stocks rise
By Indulal PM
MUMBAI, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Indian shares rose for a fifth time in six sessions on Friday as a recovery in global markets helped blue chips such as ITC to recover from falls in the previous session, while cement makers such as ACC surged on speculation of price hikes.
Still, trading is expected to enter a subdued period ahead of general elections due by May with global factors gaining prominence, especially as the U.S. Federal Reserve continues to scale down its monetary stimulus.
Asian shares rebounded from falls in the previous session after a survey showing brisk U.S. manufacturing activity offset concerns about China’s economic growth.
Overseas investors continued to pump money into the Indian markets, buying $33.09 million on Thursday and bringing their total over the previous seven sessions to $330.08 million, exchange data showed.
“Right now, our market is moving only on global cues. A large part of the market is waiting for the election outcome,” said Mehraboon Irani, head, private client group at Nirmal Bang.
The benchmark BSE index ended up 0.8 percent at 20,700.75, while the broader NSE index closed higher 1.05 percent at 6,155.45.
The BSE index gained 1.64 percent and the NSE index rose 1.77 percent for the week, their biggest gain since the week ended Dec. 20.
ITC shares rose 1.84 percent on buying from foreign funds, traders said, while Tata Steel gained 2.09 percent and Larsen & Toubro closed up 1.98 percent.
Banking stocks continued to see investors’ interest, with ICICI Bank higher 1.73 percent, State Bank of India up 1.45 percent and Axis Bank stronger 3.07 percent.
HCL Technologies closed higher 4.43 percent after The Wall Street Journal reported the company’s founder Shiv Nadar was seeking potential buyers for his $10 billion stake in the company. However, HCL denied any plans of stake sale.
Cement stocks such as UltraTech gained 5.75 percent, ACC closed up 5.72 percent and Ambuja Cements rose 6.06 percent on speculation about price hikes.
However, among stocks that fell, Shree Renuka Sugars closed down 6.03 percent on fears of equity dilution after Singapore’s Wilmar International said on Thursday it has agreed to invest up to $145 million for a major stake in the company.
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FACTORS TO WATCH * Dollar climbs, Swedish data pushes crown to two-month low * Brent eases to $110, on track for highest weekly close in ‘14 * U.S. data soothes nerves, lifting stocks and dollar * Foreign institutional investor flows * For closing rates of Indian ADRs
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Politics/General Asia Macro data (Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)