IT stocks lift Indian shares ahead of key U.S. inflation data

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

BENGALURU, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Indian shares advanced on Tuesday, led by gains in IT stocks ahead of U.S. inflation data later in the day, while investors brushed off the impact of a bigger-than-expected jump in domestic inflation.

The Nifty 50 index (.NSEI) settled 0.89% up at 17,929.85, its highest close since Jan. 24, when U.S. short-seller Hindenburg Research's scathing report on the Adani Group triggered a slide in domestic equities.

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The S&P BSE Sensex (.BSESN) rose 0.99% to 61,032.26, its highest in nearly four weeks.

Thirty of Nifty 50 constituents rose. Adani Enterprises (ADEL.NS) was among the top gainers, rising 1.88% after reporting a swing to a third-quarter profit from a year-ago loss and said it had made no "material financial adjustments" in the wake of the Hindenberg report.

Eight of the 13 major sectoral indexes rose, with IT stocks (.NIFTYIT) rising nearly 1%. All the 10 constituents of the IT index advanced.

The rise mirrored the gains in their U.S. peers overnight and ahead of inflation data for the United States, from where India's software exporters draw a significant share of their revenue. Analysts estimate U.S. CPI for January rose 0.5% month-on-month.

"Investors are finding safety in the IT sector compared to other sectors like banking, in the light of the Adani saga," said Anita Gandhi, director at Arihant Capital Markets.

On the domestic front, India's annual wholesale price inflation eased in January to 4.73% year-on-year, on cooling prices of some raw materials, government data showed on Tuesday.

The report comes a day after data showed retail inflation jumped 6.52% in January – beating estimates and again topping the upper limit of RBI's targeted band of 2-6% – that economists said cemented the likelihood of further rate hikes.

ITC (ITC.NS) jumped 3.27% and lifted the FMCG index (.NIFTYFMCG), ahead of the record date for the interim dividend for FY2022-23. ($1 = 82.5250 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil and Savio D'Souza

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