ICICI Bank powers best session for India's blue-chips in eight weeks

A man walks past the new logo of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai

By Bharath Rajeswaran

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Indian shares rose on Monday as gains in the country's no.2 private lender ICICI Bank on better-than-expected quarterly profit spurred a rise in heavyweight financials.

The NSE Nifty 50 rose 1% at 22,643.40, while the S&P BSE Sensex added 1.28% to 74,671.28, logging their best sessions in eight weeks.

Top lenders ICICI Bank, State Bank of India (SBI) and Axis Bank hit record highs and were among the top five gainers on the Nifty 50.

Financial stocks rose 2.14%, with ICICI Bank climbing 4.72% to hit a record high in its best session in over two years. The lender, on Saturday, posted March-quarter profit that beat analysts' estimates on strong loan growth.

ICICI Bank's results continue to surprise positively, analysts at Investec said in a note.

"The lender remains on track to deliver strong growth and profitability over the medium term and hence should sustain premium valuations," they added.

Peer Axis Bank also hit a record high, days after beating fourth-quarter profit estimates. It has jumped 9% in three sessions.

India's largest state-owned lender SBI rose more than 3%.

"The earnings in financials have been better-than-expected so far. This has allayed any lingering concerns over elevated valuations, aiding the rise over the last week," Neeraj Dewan, director at Quantum Securities said.

On the flip side, software services provider HCLTech fell 5.9% after reporting smaller-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue on weak client spending.

Apollo Hospitals Enterprise fell 4.64% after the hospital chain sold a stake in its digital unit in a deal that brokerages said undervalued the subsidiary.

BSE tumbled nearly 14% after India's markets regulator directed the stock exchange operator to pay regulatory fees on annual turnover based on notional value of options contract.

(Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza, Sonia Cheema, Janane Venkatraman and Mrigank Dhaniwala)