BENGALURU: Indian shares rose more than 1.5% in this year’s first trading session on Monday as banking and auto stocks rallied despite a surge in the country’s COVID-19 cases.

At the closing bell, the NSE Nifty 50 index was up 1.57% at 17,625.70 and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex 1.60% higher at 59,183.22 points. Both the Sensex and Nifty 50 earlier touched a six-week high.

Most of the Nifty 50 stocks were in positive territory, with top private lenders Axis Bank and ICICI Bank among the biggest gainers as they added 2.6% and 3.3%, respectively.

Nifty’s bank index had its best day since May, also aided by a 5.1% jump in Federal Bank following positive quarterly figures on total deposits.

Shares of Fino Payments Bank were up 2.9% after the central bank granted the company approval for starting an international remittance business.

The Nifty auto index closed 1.62% higher after several automakers logged strong December sales numbers.

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