Indian benchmarks recover from election slump to end at record levels

Clouds are seen over the BSE building in Mumbai

By Hritam Mukherjee and Sethuraman N R

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Indian benchmarks closed at record highs on Friday, erasing election day-related losses, on political continuity and a projection of faster economic growth.

The NSE Nifty 50 ended 2.05% higher at 23,290.15 points, while the S&P BSE Sensex, closed up 2.16% at 76,693.36.

The Nifty added 3.4% this week, while the Sensex rose 3.7%, recouping all losses made on Tuesday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's alliance won the general elections by a surprisingly slim majority.

The Nifty logged its best week since early December, while the Sensex recorded its best week in nearly two years.

The recovery rally on Wednesday and Thursday came as domestic buying overpowered foreign sales and as clarity emerged regarding Modi and his allies forming the government this weekend.

However, foreigners turned buyers on Friday, purchasing shares worth 43.91 billion rupees (about $526 million), while domestic institutional investors took a breather, selling shares worth 12.90 billion rupees, according to exchange data after the closing bell.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India hiked the GDP growth expectation for the current fiscal to 7.2% from 7% on Friday and kept the key borrowing rate unchanged, as expected.

"The monetary policy committee has been upbeat on growth and nudged the GDP forecasts higher," said Niraj Kumar, chief investment officer at Future Generali India Life Insurance Company, adding that the bump up in growth numbers provided comfort to the equity market.

All 13 major sub-indexes ended higher on the day, led by U.S.-rate sensitive information technology (IT) stocks which gained 3.4%.

The IT index recorded its best week since early May 2020, after major central banks kick-started their rate-easing cycle, adding to expectations that the Federal Reserve could follow suit.

The U.S. nonfarm payrolls report, due later on Friday, could provide more cues on interest rates in the country, a key market for Indian IT companies.

Wipro, India's No.4 IT company, advanced 5.1%, the most on the IT index, after winning a $500 million order.

($1 = 83.4458 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Sethuraman NR, Bharath Rajeswaran and Hritam Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonia Cheema, Savio D'Souza and Janane Venkatraman)