Indian equity benchmarks extended gains in noon deals and were on track to close higher for third day in a row on Wednesday led by strong buying interest in Bajaj Finance, HDFC, HDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, ICICI Bank and Hindustan Unilever. The Sensex rose as much as 525 points and Nifty 50 index moved above its important psychological level of 14,800. Strong quarterly earnings by financial and banking companies are propelling the equity markets higher, analysts said.
As of 12:00 pm, the Sensex rose 505 points or 1 per cent to 49,450 and Nifty 50 index climbed 136 points to 14,789.
Both the indexes fell nearly 2 per cent last week, as investors fretted over the economic impact from a furious surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths. India added over 1.2 million cases and 8,000 deaths in the week to April 23.
"Over the last two (to) three days, and especially over the weekend, there have been some positives such as... the U.S. allowing supply of COVID-19 materials and resources to India, and a fall in the number of active cases, especially in worst-hit states like Maharashtra," Gaurav Garg, head of research at CapitalVia Global Research told news agency Reuters.
Investors have also turned their attention to the March-quarter earnings season, with key blue-chip companies such as consumer giant Hindustan Unilever and conglomerate Reliance Industries set to report their results later this week.
Meanwhile, eight of 11 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange were trading higher led by the Nifty Auto index's 2.5 per cent gain. Nifty PSU Bank, Bank, Financial Services and Private Bank indices also rose between 1-2 per cent.
On the other hand, metal, information technology and realty indices were trading with a negative bias.
Mid- and small-cap shares were also witnessing buying interest as Nifty Midcap 100 index rose 1 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index advanced 0.9 per cent.
Among the individual shares, Info Edge India, which has stake in food delivery service provider Zomato, rose as much as 3.14 per cent to hit an intraday high of Rs 5,100 on the BSE after Zomato filed draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) with Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to raise up to Rs 8,250 crore through share sale via initial public offering (IPO).
Bajaj Finance was top Nifty gainer, the stock rose nearly 7 per cent to hit an intraday high of Rs 5,215 after its net profit in March quarter jumped 42 per cent to Rs 1,346.64 crore.
Bajaj Finserv rallied 5 per cent to hit an intraday high of Rs 10,615 ahead of its earnings due later in the day.
Eicher Motors, Bajaj Auto, IndusInd Bank, State Bank of India, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Hero MotoCorp, Bharti Airtel and Mahindra & Mahindra also rose 2-4 per cent.
On the flipside, Hindalco, JSW Steel, Britannia Industries, SBI Life, Tata Steel, Axis Bank, HDFC Life and Nestle India were among the losers.
The overall market breadth was positive as 1,781 shares were advancing while 928 were declining on the BSE.