BENGALURU: Indian shares ended at a near four-month high on Thursday as positive developments in a coronavirus vaccine trial soothed worries about rising number of cases at home, while the rupee soared against the US dollar.
The NSE Nifty 50 index ended 1.17% higher at 10,551.7, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was up 1.21% at 35,843.7, the best closing levels for the indexes since March 6. The rupee ended at 75.01 against the dollar, its best closing level since March 27.
The number of COVID-19 cases in India crossed 600,000, with the death toll touching 17,834, days after the government allowed more economic activities to resume.
Global stock markets were upbeat after a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech was found to be well tolerated in early-stage human trials, and ahead of data that is expected to show a record rebound in US jobs figures.
However, Mumbai's benchmark stock indexes are down around 13% for the year so far, even after a sharp recovery from March's multi-year lows.
Heavily hammered automakers stocks led the rally, with the Nifty Auto Index seeing its best day since June 12.
Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd was the biggest percentage gainer on the Nifty, closing 6.1% firmer at its best close since mid-Feb. Two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp Ltd gained 4.9% to its highest in nearly eight months.
IT stocks gained ground following reports that US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden would lift the temporary suspension of H-1B visas, used by Indian IT professionals, if he wins the November elections.
IT giants Tata Consultancy Services Ltd and Infosys Ltd jumped more than 3% each, pushing the Nifty IT Index 2.7% higher.
Axis Bank Ltd's stock closed 2.3% lower after the private sector lender approved raising 150 billion indian rupees ($2.00 billion) through issue of shares.