BENGALURU (Reuters) -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. Eicher Motors advanced 4.9% and Tata Motors settled up 3.2%.
Shares of Coal India were the top percentage gainer on the Nifty 50 with a rise of over 6%, while Zomato added 2.9% after the food delivery platform recorded https://twitter.com/deepigoyal/status/1476940878082043908?s=20 more than 2 million orders for the first time on Dec. 31.
A rise in the country's coronavirus cases for a sixth straight day to the highest daily count since mid-September, however, raised some concerns.
India earlier in the day began vaccinating children aged 15 to 18 against the coronavirus as it expands vaccination coverage for the world's largest adolescent population.
(Reporting by Shivani Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Aditya Soni)