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India

India's benchmark stock index hits record high as COVID-19 vaccinations surge

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Brokers react while trading during the presentation of the federal budget at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai, February 1, 2018. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade/Files

BENGALURU, June 22 (Reuters) - India's benchmark Sensex index hit an all-time high on Tuesday, with the blue-chip Nifty also hovering close to its peak, a day after the country administered a record number of daily COVID-19 vaccine doses.

By 0403 GMT, the S&P BSE Sensex (.BSESN) rose 0.70% to 52,945.06, while the NSE Nifty 50 index (.NSEI) climbed 0.74% to 15,863.

India administered a record 8.3 million vaccine doses on Monday under a federal campaign to inoculate all adults for free. Experts have said widespread vaccination remains one of the best tools to avoid the kind of devastation India saw during its second wave of the pandemic. read more

Declining cases and easing of pandemic-induced restrictions have also contributed to both the indexes gaining more than 1.7% so far this month.

Among individual sectors, the Nifty Auto Index (.NIFTYAUTO) gained 1.38%. Jefferies in a research note said on Tuesday India's auto demand is recovering again after taking a big hit during the peak of the second COVID-19 wave in April and May.

Maruti Suzuki (MRTI.NS) jumped 2.5% and was among the top percentage gainers on the Nifty 50.

Broader Asian markets bounced from four-week lows as investors' focus on economic growth partly offset worries about any near-term rise in U.S. interest rates.

Investors will also be looking at U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's appearance before Congress later in the day, for more clarity on the central bank's surprise hawkish shift last week.

Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V

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