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Sensex, Nifty hit all-time high as banks, Reliance gain

Sensex, Nifty hit all-time high as banks, Reliance gain
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Sensex, Nifty hit all-time high as banks, Reliance gain

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BENGALURU: Indian shares scaled a record high on Thursday, led by banks and Reliance Industries, as COVID-19 vaccine developments globally and a slowing pace of virus spread at home supported sentiment.

The NSE Nifty 50 index climbed 0.38% to 13,163.9 by 0449 GMT and was on course for a third straight session of gain, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was up 0.34% at 44,770.56.

Both indexes have hit record highs in 10 of their last 17 sessions, gaining more than 11% in November on record inflows from foreign institutional investors.

Boosting sentiment was news that Britain became the first Western country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, with doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available from next week for those at high risk.

In India, the daily rise in coronavirus cases stayed below 40,000 for the fourth straight day on Thursday.

"There is some optimism in the market about economic recovery given the success of the vaccine and the government's tackling of the pandemic," said Ajit Mishra, vice president, research at Religare Broking.

"There were concerns over whether India would need another round of lockdowns, but those have faded."

The Nifty Bank Index climbed 1.1% after sliding 1.2% in the previous session. Top private-sector lender HDFC Bank Ltd was the biggest boost to both indexes, rising as much as 1.8%.

Reliance Industries Ltd, India's largest company by market value, rose 1% to its highest in more than a week.

Data released late Wednesday showed India's trade deficit narrowed 21.93% in November from a year earlier, as imports fell sharply compared to the drop in exports.

Investors are now awaiting the outcome of a three-day meeting of the Reserve Bank of India's monetary policy committee that ends on Friday, where the central bank is widely expected to stand pat on interest rates.

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