Indian blue-chips post best week in nearly three months, led by financials, metals

A broker reacts while trading at his computer terminal at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai

By Bharath Rajeswaran and Dimpal Gulwani

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Indian benchmarks ended flat on Friday, but logged their best week since early February, driven by gains in financials and metal stocks.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 and S&P BSE Sensex ended the session 0.05% and 0.01% lower, but gained 2.2% and 2.02% on the week.

Seven of the 13 major sectors ended in the green.

Heavyweight financials advanced 1.7% during the week, posting the second straight weekly gain. Top Nifty gainer HDFC Bank added 3.6% in its best week since early April.

The weekly rise in Indian benchmarks was fuelled by foreign investors dialling back bearish bets on domestic equities ahead of the June 4 election results, as well as the Reserve Bank of India's record dividend to the government.

"Both factors have boosted sentiment. With surplus liquidity coming back to the system, there's a much lower requirement for the government to raise more funds via bonds," said Aishwarya Dadheech, the founder and chief investment officer at Fident Asset Management.

Foreign investors bought 121,500 contracts of index futures on a net basis on the NSE on Thursday for a notional value of 72 billion rupees ($865.35 million) and invested 46.54 billion rupees in the cash market, per exchange data.

"Despite the short covering, foreign investors are still net short, which (when they cover) can lead to positive momentum for the Nifty in the forthcoming week," said Vikram Kasat, head - advisory at Prabhudas Lilladher.

The auto index added 2.6%, gaining for the fifth straight week.

Metals gained 3.9% during the week, mainly led by Adani Enterprises, which surged 10.6% and recovered to pre-Hindenburg levels on reports that it could be included in the Sensex index.

Meanwhile, IndiGo airline operator Interglobe Aviation closed down 3.3% in the worst session since mid-March after analysts flagged short-term headwinds.

(Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran, Hritam Mukherjee and Dimpal Gulwani in Bengaluru; Editing by Mrigank Dhaniwala, Sohini Goswami and Nivedita Bhattacharjee)