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Asia300

India shares rise to record, Nifty closes above 10,000 mark for first time

MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- Indian shares rose to fresh all-time highs on Wednesday, with the

Nifty index closing above the 10,000 mark for the first time, as better-than-expected company earnings spurred investors to step up purchases.

The benchmark BSE Sensex gained 0.5%, or 154.19 points, to 32,382.46, while the broader Nifty 50 gained 0.6%, or 56.10 points, to 10,020.65. ICICI Bank, India's top private lender, led the gains, ending up 2.1% at 310.20 rupees ahead of its first-quarter earnings Thursday.

Local stocks have been consistently hitting new highs lately, mirroring gains across global equities amid increased liquidity, sustained buying interest by domestic mutual funds and stable macroeconomic indicators.

Solid April-June quarterly performance from index heavyweights such as Reliance Industries, consumer goods maker Hindustan Unilever and HDFC Bank, India's biggest lender by market value, have further boosted appetite for local stocks, analysts said.

Asian stocks ended mixed, with the Nikkei Asia300 index closing almost unchanged at 1,290.55. Investors are looking forward to the Fed's rate decision later on Wednesday and for clues on the timing of further interest-rate increases and reduction of its bond holdings.

"Better first-quarter results and some short covering ahead of the futures and options expiry tomorrow have taken the market to new heights," said Vinod Nair, head of research at Geojit Financial Securities. "Rising expectation for a status quo on U.S. interest rate is providing support to the market, but investors are keen on Fed's statement to get cues on the timing of its balance sheet trimming."

Twenty three of the 30 Sensex constituents ended higher on Wednesday, while overall declining stocks outnumbered advancing stocks 1,365 to 1,324, while 172 remained unchanged.

Reliance Industries, India's biggest private company by revenue, gained 1.2% to 1,621.90 rupees. Several brokerages have increased their price targets on the stock after Reliance reported a 28% growth in quarterly profit.

HDFC Bank extended gains for a third straight session, adding 0.6% to 1,749.75 rupees. The lender reported a 20% on-year increase in net profit earlier this week.

Smaller rival Yes Bank was the biggest gainer on the Nifty index. It added 6.1% to 1,712.55 rupees after its first-quarter net profit grew 32% on-year.

Miner Vedanta advanced 2.3% to 280.80 rupees, taking its two-day gains to 6.1% after first-quarter profit jumped 67% on-year.

Axis Bank was the top loser on the Sensex, ending down 2.9% at 527.95 rupees. After-market hours on Tuesday, the lender reported a 16% decline in quarterly profit. Mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corp. ended 0.1% up at 1,633.25 rupees, despite reporting a 2% drop in quarterly profit.

--Dhanya Ann Thoppil

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