India’s benchmark stock index rose to a record after the rupee strengthened to its highest level in eight months as foreign investors extended Asia’s largest equity-market inflows.
State Bank of India rallied to its highest level since July, pacing a rally among state lenders, after the central bank extended the deadline for banks to meet global capital norms by a year to March 2019. Tata Power Co. (TPWR) headed for its highest level this year. Aluminum maker Hindalco Industries Ltd. (HNDL) climbed to a 14-month high.
The S&P BSE Sensex (SENSEX) added 0.5 percent to 22,315.01, according to preliminary closing prices in Mumbai, reaching a record for a fourth day this week. The gauge has risen 5.4 percent this quarter, beating stocks in Brazil, Russia and China, as improving public finances, cooling inflation and forecasts for a change in government after next month’s election lure foreign capital inflows. Foreign funds have bought $ 8.8 billion of local shares and bonds this year, the most among eight Asian markets tracked by Bloomberg.
“This momentum is going to continue and expectations are pointing toward a change of guard in New Delhi and that will keep the market buoyant,” Manish Sonthalia, a fund manager at Motilal Oswal Asset Management Co. in Mumbai, told Bloomberg TV India today. The Sensex may climb at least 5 percent till the election results are declared on May 16, he said.
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, favored by investors seeking a change to revive the economy, is leading in opinion polls as voters punish Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Congress party for graft scandals, elevated inflation and the slowest economic growth in a decade. Congress is headed for its worst-ever electoral performance, polls show.
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