Indian shares rise as beaten-down IT stocks recover

A broker reacts while trading at his computer terminal at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai
A broker reacts while trading at his computer terminal at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai, India, August 24, 2015. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

BENGALURU, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Indian shares overcame a lacklustre start to close higher on Wednesday, with the benchmark Nifty reclaiming the 18,000 mark after three weeks, helped by a recovery in IT stocks and as the return of foreign investors continued.

The Nifty 50 index (.NSEI) closed 0.48% higher at 18,015.85, while the S&P BSE Sensex (.BSESN) rose 0.40% to 61,275.09. Both the indexes had fallen more than 0.4% earlier in the session.

Eleven of the 13 major sectoral indexes gained, with the information technology (IT) index (.NIFTYFMCG) rising 1.13%.

The index was under pressure earlier in the session after data showed U.S. retail inflation rose in January, fanning fears of further rate hikes and slowing the economy of a country that accounts for a bulk of revenue for Indian IT firms.

IT stocks have fallen about 20% since the start of 2022, during which the Federal Reserve and other central banks started their rate hike cycles to tame inflation. In that same period, the Nifty has gained more than 5%.

"IT stocks have seen significant correction since the start of 2022 and the valuations are extremely attractive," said Gaurav Dua, head of capital market strategy at Sharekhan.

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have net bought 41.85 billion rupees ($505 million) of shares in the past three sessions.

Still, they have net sold 442.51 billion rupees of shares so far this year, with volumes jumping in the wake of the Adani Group-sparked selloff.

"The emergence of FII-buying in domestic equities over the last three sessions is a positive factor," said Anita Gandhi, director at Arihant Capital Markets.

Among stocks, Eicher Motors (EICH.NS) jumped 4.27%, and was among the top Nifty 50 gainers, after reporting a better-than-expected rise in profit on higher sales of its Royal Enfield motorcycles.

Adani Enterprises (ADEL.NS) extended gains from the previous session, rising 1.68%, a day after it reported a third-quarter profit against a loss a year ago. ($1 = 82.8625 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza

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