Sensex, Nifty hit record high as country approves COVID-19 vaccines

FILE PHOTO: A man walks out of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai, India, February 28, 2020. REUTERS/Hemanshi Kamani/File Photo

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Indian shares hit record highs on Monday to kick off the first trading week of the new year, after the country gave emergency use approvals to two coronavirus vaccines over the weekend, lifting investor sentiment.

The blue chip NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.50% to 14,087.95 and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.43% to 48,077.13 by 0347 GMT.

India’s drugs regulator on Sunday approved for emergency use two coronavirus vaccines – one developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and the other by local company Bharat Biotech.

The country, which has the second-highest number of coronavirus infections in the world, is expected to start a massive immunisation program within about a week.

The Nifty gained nearly 15% in 2020, its best year since 2017, while the Sensex gained 15.75%. Both indexes recovered more than 86% from a virus-driven crash in March, boosted by liquidity support measures from global central banks and progress on COVID-19 vaccines.

In Mumbai trading, the Nifty Bank Index rose 0.69% and the Nifty IT index was up 0.80%. Tata Motors was the biggest percentage gainer on the Nifty 50, rising 2.4% after the company on Friday reported a 21% rise in December domestic sales.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan hit a record high on hopes that the rollout of coronavirus vaccines will eventually help revive the global economy.

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