Indian shares post best week since early September as Omicron concerns ebb

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A bird flies past the Bombay Stock Exchange building in Mumbai

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Indian shares rose on Friday to post their best week since early September, as banking and energy stocks gained following reduced concerns over the severity of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Benchmark indexes rose for a fifth session in six, with the NSE Nifty 50 index ending up 0.38% at 17,812.70, and the S&P BSE Sensex rising 0.24% to 59,744.65. Both indexes had slumped more than 1% in the previous session.

The Nifty and the Sensex gained about 2.6% for the week, their best showing since the week ended Sept. 3, 2021.

Global shares largely held their ground with U.S. futures gaining and Asian shares rallying after two days of losses, helping lift sentiment in the domestic market. [MKTS/GLOB]

Though hospitalisation rate and deaths were relatively lower, India reported more than 117,000 COVID-19 cases, a five-fold increase in a week.

In Mumbai, the Nifty Bank Index notched its sixth session of gains in the last seven, closing 0.67% higher. HDFC Life Insurance and ICICI Bank rose 2.1% and 1%, respectively.

The Nifty energy index added 0.89%, with top Indian producer Oil & Natural Gas Corp rising 4.1%.

Oil prices jumped as escalating unrest in Kazakhstan stoked worries that crude supply from the OPEC+ producer group could be disrupted. [O/R]

Reliance Industries gained 0.8% amid the surge in oil prices and after its retail arm invested $200 million for a stake in online delivery platform Dunzo to get a foothold into the rapidly growing market of superfast dispatch of goods.

Grasim Industries also provided support, ending as the top percentage gainer on the Nifty 50, after brokerage Motilal Oswal upgraded its rating on the textile-to-chemicals maker to "buy", sending its shares up 4.5%

Business process management company Hinduja Global Solutions sank 20% after a special dividend announced by it missed expectations.

(Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru)

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