Nifty near 1-1/2-month high; Wipro, lenders lead

MUMBAI (Reuters) – The Nifty rose for a third consecutive session on Monday to mark its highest level in nearly 1-1/2 months, as Wipro surged on strong earnings, while lenders rose on continued optimism the Reserve Bank of India’s surprise rate cut last week would revive credit growth.

The NSE bank index rose as much as 1.1 percent to a record high of 19,434.20 after the Reserve Bank of India cut interest rates by 25 basis points on Thursday and signalled it could cut rates further amid cooling inflation and government efforts to contain the fiscal deficit.

Gains were also in line with higher Asian stock markets which tracked higher Wall Street shares. Chinese shares, however, recoiled on Monday after regulators took steps to rein in speculative lending.

“Rate cut will cancel out negatives, if any, from results season while IT and pharmaceutical results are expected to be good,” said G. Chokkalingam, founder of Equinomics, a research and fund advisory firm.

The broader Nifty gained 0.5 percent, after earlier marking its highest intraday level since Dec. 5.

The benchmark BSE Sensex rose 0.6 percent, after rising to its highest since Dec. 8.

Wipro (WIPR.NS) rose as much as 7.8 percent after the country’s third-largest IT services exporter on Friday reported better-than-expected growth in December-quarter net profit.

Among other gainers, IDFC (IDFC.NS) rose 2.1 percent while ICICI Bank (ICBK.NS) was up 1.5 percent.

Axis Bank (AXBK.NS) gained 2.9 percent after its December-quarter net profit rose about 18.5 percent to 19 billion rupees while maintaining stable asset quality, investors said.

(Reporting by Abhishek Vishnoi; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)

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