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BENGALURU: Indian shares kickstarted the week higher on Monday, with financial stocks seeing strong gains, as falling COVID-19 infections and indications of more availability of vaccines raised hopes of a sustained reopening of the economy.

By 0347 GMT, the blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex were up 0.43% each at 15,790.70 and 52,711.21, respectively.

Both the indexes shed 0.87% last week.

The Nifty Bank index added 0.74%, boosted by top lenders HDFC Bank and Axis Bank.

Panacea Biotec soared 9% after the biotechnology firm got the Indian drug regulator's nod to make the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.

The Economic Times reported that Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine was likely to reach India this week and will be available in few major government hospitals by July 15.

Meanwhile, India's Bharat Biotech said over the weekend that its vaccine, Covaxin, showed 93.4% efficacy against severe COVID-19 in late-stage trials.

Investors now await the Markit composite and services PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) data - an indicator that helps predict economic trends in the rapidly developing services sector - due later in the day.

Among other shares, DMart owner Avenue Supermarts rose 2.4% after the supermarket chain posted a 31% rise in June-quarter revenue, while agrochemical firm India Pesticides jumped 18.2% in its market debut.

Asian markets extended their rally and took global equities to a record high after a US jobs report signalled that the economic recovery remained intact.

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