Maruti leads Indian shares to record closing high levels

A bird flies past a screen displaying the Sensex results on the facade of BSE building in Mumbai

By Bharath Rajeswaran and Manvi Pant

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian shares logged all-time closing high levels on Tuesday as car maker Maruti Suzuki and consumer stocks helped the benchmarks continue their post-election rally.

The benchmarks NSE Nifty 50 rose 0.46% to 24,433.2, while S&P BSE Sensex settled 0.49% higher at 80,351.64.

In the 26 sessions since the start of June, the Nifty has notched record closing highs 15 times, one more than the Sensex.

In that period, the Nifty has gained 8.44%, hitting an all-time high 16 times, as the national elections ensured policy continuity and as the central bank raised its economic growth forecast.

That also enabled the return of foreign investors too, after a two-month lull. Foreign inflows have reached $4.52 billion since the beginning of June, while domestic equity mutual fund inflows hit a record high in June, aiding the market's momentum.

The broader, more domestically focussed small- and mid-caps hit all-time highs enroute to gains of about 0.3% each on the day.

"The overall fundamentals of Indian markets, both from growth and earnings outlook perspectives, remain positive, which is limiting any downside despite high valuations," said Poonam Tandon, chief investment officer at IndiaFirst Life Insurance.

On the day, Maruti Suzuki gained 6.69% after local media reported the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) had waived registration fees on hybrid cars. Maruti Suzuki is among the top sellers of hybrid cars in the country.

Meanwhile, the consumer goods index jumped about 1%, rising for a third straight session as market leaders like Dabur India reported a pick-up in sales, boosting expectations that a normal monsoon could boost demand.

Investors await U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's testimony due after the close for cues on the timing of U.S. rate cuts. U.S.-rate sensitive IT stocks shed 0.2%.

(Reporting by Manvi Pant and Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Sonia Cheema)