Indian shares extend gains, close higher on earnings boost

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Man reacts as he looks at screen displaying Sensex results on BSE building in Mumbai

By Bharath Rajeswaran

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Indian shares rose on Thursday, as strong earnings from major firms overshadowed weak global cues on the April series derivatives expiry day.

The Nifty 50 closed 0.57% higher at 17,915.05, while the S&P BSE Sensex gained 0.58% to 60,649.38.

The Nifty 50 has advanced for four sessions in a row, while the Sensex has risen for six sessions in a row, with domestic shares resisting the weakness in global equities.

Strong earnings from several index heavyweights including Reliance Industries Ltd, ICICI Bank Ltd, Bajaj Finance Ltd contributed.

"Markets may go sideways after the sharp rise," said Om Mehra, equity research analyst at Choice Broking. "The (Nifty 50) index is likely to witness consolidation; traders may find buying opportunities if the 17,700 level is protected."

Twelve of the 13 major sectoral indexes advanced. FMCG closed marginally lower, dragged by an almost 2% drop in Hindustan Unilever Ltd after core profit margin contracted due to high costs.

The fall in FMCG comes after a four-day winning streak, when the gauge rose to new record highs.

High weightage financials gained 0.5%, aided by non-banking financial company Bajaj Finance Ltd.

Bajaj Finance rose 2.38% after reporting a bigger-than-expected rise in fourth-quarter profit on strong loan demand.

Information technology (IT) index rose over 1% and was among the top sectoral gainers, led by an 8.24% uptick in L&T Technology Services Ltd on reporting a profit beat.

Among individual stocks, Network 18 Media & Investments Ltd jumped 6.73% after Viacom18 struck a deal with Warner Bros Discovery Inc for its streaming platform JioCinema.

Viacom18 is a joint venture between the Network18 group, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd and American entertainment firm Paramount Global.

Indian Oil Corporation Ltd added 2.55% after Tesla Power USA announced a strategic tie-up to service batteries at Indian Oil petrol pumps across India.

($1 = 81.7130 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; editing by Eileen Soreng and Janane Venkatraman)