Indian shares hit new highs on boost from IT, banks

FILE PHOTO: Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in Mumbai

By Bharath Rajeswaran

BENGALURU (Reuters) -India's main indexes closed at record highs on Thursday, powered by a rally in shares of IT companies and public sector banks, with sentiment bolstered by signals the U.S. Federal Reserve may slow the pace of interest rate hikes.

The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex rose 1.24%, biggest single day gain in two weeks, to close at 62,272.68, while the NSE Nifty 50 index advanced 1.19% to 18,484.1.

The NSE Nifty Bank index also settled at record high.

The Nifty IT <.Nifty IT> was the top sectoral gainer, rising 2.63% tracking overnight gains in tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite following the Fed minutes. During the session the index rose to an over three-month high.

Deven Choksey, Managing Director of KRChoksey Holdings said that the tone of the U.S. central bank will likely be more dovish and rate hikes more calibrated going forward, "allowing the markets across the world to breathe more comfortably."

Minutes from the Fed's November rate-setting meeting showed on Wednesday, a "substantial majority" of policymakers agreed it would "likely soon be appropriate" to slow the pace of rate hikes.

"We are set for record high closing levels, both in terms of market capitalisation as well as Sensex, Nifty levels by the end of 2022," G Chokkalingam, founder of Equinomics Research said, adding "this could only change if slide in oil prices reverses."

The broader indices underperformed their larger peers with the Nifty Midcap100 and Nifty SmallCap100 adding 0.44% and 0.51%, respectively.

In domestic trading, Apollo Hospitals was the top gainer on the Nifty 50, rising 4.6%.

Tata Consumer Products closed 2.9% higher after it said it remained in discussions with various parties for strategic opportunities, including Bisleri International, after a media report of talks about an acquisition.

(Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran and Akansha Victor in Bengaluru; Editing by Janane Venkatraman and Eileen Soreng)