Metal stocks drive Indian shares to record high ahead of Fed Chair's speech

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FILE PHOTO: People walk past the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian shares closed at a record high on Friday, as metal and infrastructure stocks rose ahead of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's speech due later in the day.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index, which hit an all-time high during the session, closed 0.41% higher at 16,705.20, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex ended up 0.31% at 56,124.72 points.

Both indexes are on track to clock their fourth consecutive monthly gain in a market flush with liquidity, as the country ramps up its COVID-19 immunization program.

Global shares held steady near record highs as investors caught their breath ahead of a much-anticipated speech by the U.S. Fed chief that could give clues about when the central bank will start tapering its bond-buying programme. [MKTS/GLOB]

In Mumbai trading, the rate-sensitive Nifty Bank index ended up 0.03% after falling as much as 0.73%, as the market hoped for a definite sense of direction from the long-awaited Fed speech.

The Nifty Metals index recorded its first weekly gain in three, closing 1.63% higher, helped by strong gains in aluminium producers.

Shares of Hindalco Industries Ltd and National Aluminium Co were up 3.3% and 7.9% respectively, after China's Xinjiang region imposed output limits on five aluminium smelters.

Shares of engineering and construction company Larsen & Toubro Ltd jumped as much as 4.4% to 1,666.70 rupees after brokerage Motilal Oswal raised its target price on the stock to 1,950 rupees.

The Nifty Pharma index snapped its two-day losing streak to close 1.38% higher.

Budget airline SpiceJet Ltd closed 2.7% higher after the country's air safety regulator cleared Boeing's 737 MAX aircraft to fly with immediate effect on Thursday.

A deadly attack in Afghanistan on Thursday, which killed scores of civilians and at least 13 U.S. troops, also weighed on global sentiment.

(Reporting by Shivani Singh in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V and Vinay Dwivedi)

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