Shares rose in thin trading Thursday as the information technology and pharmaceutical sectors gained, as the country reported the highest jump in daily coronavirus cases in a month.
At 12:57 p.m., the NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.21 percent to 17,248, and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.21 percent to 57,9292.45.
“The strong growth momentum in India’s IT sector and the status of pharma will keep money flowing to these sectors until Omicron’s fears are cleared up,” said Ajay Bodke, an independent market analyst.
The Nifty IT index gained 0.9 percent and the pharma index 0.55 percent. The IT index is up for the fifth week in a row, rising more than 59 percent so far this year.
“We believe the IT industry is in a multi-year upcycle as a result of a robust demand environment, strong deal momentum, a healthy deal pipeline and an acceleration of digitalization across all industries,” said Mohit Nigam, head of portfolio management services, Hem Securities .
Indian stocks are down more than seven percent after hitting a record high in October amid concerns about high valuations and the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 around the world. India reported a daily increase of 13,154 cases of COVID-19.
“Omicron’s hospitalization rate is very low. But if the sheer numbers were to overwhelm the hospital infrastructure, then one could see the rollout of lockouts and the contraction of economic activity,” Bodke said.
In individual stocks, RBL Bank fell eight percent after a report said a rupee 3 billion write-down was the main reason for the Indian banking regulator’s intervention in the private lender.
RBL said last weekend that the chief executive officer and chief executive officer have gone on medical leave and that the Reserve Bank of India has appointed a director to the lender’s board.