MUMBAI(NewsRise)--Indian shares ended higher Tuesday, recovering most of the previous session's losses, as a rebound in regional indices and sustained purchases by foreign investors lifted demand for index blue chip stocks.
The benchmark BSE Sensex index rose 0.6%, or 172.37 points, to 29,409.52, while the broader NSE Nifty 50 index ended 0.6% higher, or 55.60 points, at 9,100.80. Axis Bank gained 3.2% to 502.95 rupees to lead a gauge of private banks on NSE higher by 0.8% amid speculation rival Kotak Mahindra Bank could acquire a stake in the lender.
"Value buying helped indices to march ahead, with banks continuing to lead gains," said Anand James, chief market strategist at Geojit Financial Services. "Rollover in the Nifty index also picked up pace and was seen above the six months' average ahead of the monthly derivatives expiry later this week."
Most other regional markets also rose, with the Nikkei Asia300 Index adding 0.9%, as investors shifted focus to the path ahead for U.S. tax cuts promised by President Donald Trump, even as his efforts to push a healthcare bill were unsuccessful.
James said "global cues will now gain prominence with Brexit being triggered today, and with next week thick with US economic data".
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is set to trigger the nation's exit from the European Union under Article 50 of the EU treaty Wednesday.
Ten of the 30 Sensex constituents ended higher, while overall advancing issues edged past declining ones 1,448 to 1,391 and 215 stocks were unchanged.
Overseas investors have purchased a net $3.30 billion in local stocks this month till Friday, their highest monthly accumulation since March 2016.
Private lenders outperformed Tuesday, as funds bought into the sector amid strong market rumors of a merger of Axis Bank with rival Kotak Mahindra Bank. Kotak's managing director Uday Kotak is scheduled to address media Wednesday afternoon. Speculations are rife that the bank could be announcing a big acquisition in order to reduce Kotak's promoter stake in the bank. The agreement, if announced, may be a share-swap deal, moneycontrol.com website reported Tuesday.
ICICI Bank gained 1.3% to 276.95 rupees, while HDFC Bank - India's biggest lender by market value - finished 0.5% higher at 1,418.75 rupees. Kotak fell 1.3% to 859.85 rupees.
Mortgage lending heavyweight Housing Development Finance Corp. rose 2% to 1,503.80 rupees, recording its fifth straight session of gains.
Bharti Airtel gained 0.6% to 340.65 rupees. The telecom operator sold a 10.3% stake in its tower unit Bharti Infratel to a consortium backed by private equity firm KKR & Co. and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for 61.94 billion rupees ($952 million). Bharti Infratel - part of the Nifty index - ended up 2% at 318.75 rupees.
Top engineering and construction company Larsen & Toubro ended flat at 1,545.75 rupees after saying it received a residential development order worth 29 billion rupees from Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority.
Index heavyweights that have outperformed lately witnessed some consolidation. Reliance Industries, India's biggest private company by sales, declined 0.4% to 1,245.65 rupees, while cigarette maker ITC, which has among the highest weightage in the benchmarks - ended down 0.5% at 280.50 rupees.
--Dhanya Ann Thoppil