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BENGALURU: Indian shares ended higher on Friday, leading to a third straight week of gains, as metal stocks surged on hopes of easing COVID restrictions in top consumer China.

The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.36% to 18,117.15, while the S&P BSE Sensex gained 0.2% to 60,950.36.

The benchmark indexes have added nearly 2% each this week after gaining more than 5% last month, on the back of strong earnings reports.

Renewed hopes that China will relax its strict COVID measures spurred a rally in Asian equities on Friday.

“There are two broad trends, one negative and the other positive, in the market now. The negative trend is the rising interest rates globally. But even in this unfavourable environment, foreign investor flows into India are rising,” said V K Vijayakumar, chief investment strategist at Geojit Financial Services.

Foreign institutional investors have been net buyers in the domestic market in the last six days, purchasing a net 6.78 billion Indian rupees ($82.01 million) worth of equities on Thursday, as per provisional data available with the National Stock Exchange.

“In the near term, the influence of these negative and positive factors will keep the Nifty in a range with no breakouts or breakdowns,” Vijayakumar added.

Indian shares decline as IT, energy losses weigh

Meanwhile, U.S. payrolls data, due later in the day, will likely reinforce the Federal Reserve’s hawkish outlook if the data paints a robust picture. Fed Chair Jerome Powell repeatedly mentioned the robust labour market in his speech after the rate hike earlier this week.

In domestic trading, Nifty’s metal surged 4.21%, while public sector bank rose 1.04%.

Aluminium products maker Hindalco Industries was among the top gainers on the Nifty 50, rising 4.92%. Hero MotoCorp was among the biggest losers, declining 2.2%.

Britannia Industries rose 1.5%, while InterGlobe Aviation fell 0.3%, ahead of their quarterly results.

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