Indian shares rally for eighth day boosted by Powell's comments

A broker reacts while trading at his computer terminal at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai, India, June 29, 2015. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

BENGALURU, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Indian shares extended their rally for eighth straight session on Thursday, after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's remarks boosted bets of a slowdown in the pace of interest rate hikes.

The S&P BSE Sensex (.BSESN) rose 0.29% to close at 63,284.19. The NSE Nifty 50 index (.NSEI) also gained 0.29% to settle at 18,812.50.

Both benchmarks rose about 0.7% to fresh all-time highs during the session.

On Wednesday, Powell said moderate pace of rate hikes may come as soon as December meeting, triggering a rally across markets globally. Although, he cautioned that the fight against inflation was far from over.

Eyes will now be on the Reserve Bank of India's next policy decision, which is due on Dec.7.

Market is expecting a small hike of 35-40 bps, but it should not have much of an impact because the inflation is cooling and crude prices have come down, AK Prabhakar, Head of Research at IDBI Capital said, adding he expects a 2-4% rise for benchmark Nifty to 19,800-20,000 levels by year-end.

IT stocks could rally further following a heavy correction, Prabhakar added.

IT index (.NIFTYIT) was the top sectoral gainer on the day, adding 2.4%. It has fallen 19.59% year-to-date, compared to 6.73% rise in the benchmark Nifty 50 index.

Ultratech Cement (ULTC.NS) and Hindalco Industries (HALC.NS) were the top Nifty 50 gainers, both jumping 2.8%

The broader indices outperformed their larger peers, with Nifty SmallCap 100 (.NIFSMCP100) and Nifty Midcap 100 (.NIFMDCP100), rising 0.43% and 0.77%, respectively.

The Nifty Auto index (.NIFTYAUTO) was among the laggards, dragged by year-on-year decline in November sales for Bajaj Auto (BAJA.NS).

(This story has been refiled to remove the reference to Eicher Motors sales in paragraph 11)

Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran and Akansha Victor in Bengaluru; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil and Eileen Soreng

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