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India: Stocks gain as investors turn focus to business resilience

[NEW DELHI] Indian stocks rose as investors turned their focus toward business resilience despite a steady rise in new coronavirus infections.

The S&P BSE Sensex climbed 0.8 per cent to 38,347.31 as of 10.06 am in Mumbai, after rising 1.2 per cent last week in what was its seventh weekly advance in eight. The NSE Nifty 50 Index also advanced 0.8 per cent on Monday.

Shares of companies that produce military goods rallied, after India banned imports of more than 100 items used by its armed forces in a bid to boost local manufacturing.

"There is complete disengagement in how the market is moving and the reality," said Ajit Mishra, vice president at Religare Broking. "We are now following the US market, which despite the problems in the country, remains strong."

US President Donald Trump announced four executive actions on Saturday, including a temporary payroll tax deferral for some workers and continued expanded unemployment benefits.

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India is gradually allowing shops and establishments to restart business activity even as it battles the world's third-highest number of coronavirus cases. The Asian economy is facing its first economic contraction in four decades.

The number of confirmed cases in India stands at 2.15 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The number of fatalities is 43,379, while 1.48 million have recovered.

Of the 34 Nifty 50-member companies that have announced results so far, 23 companies have beaten or matched estimates. Power Grid Corp, Titan and Shree Cement are expected to report earnings today.

The rupee was little changed at 74.9375 per US dollar, while the yield on 10-year government bonds rose one basis point to 5.90 per cent.

All but one of 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE advanced, led by a gauge of healthcare stocks

Larsen & Toubro contributed the most to the Sensex advance, increasing 4.9 per cent, while Mahindra & Mahindra had the largest gain, rising 5.2 per cent.

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