Indian shares traded near four-month highs on Friday, tracking gains in broader Asian markets after robust data from the United States and China bolstered hopes of a global economic rebound, but a record spike in domestic coronavirus cases capped gains.
The benchmark indexes rose for a third day, with the Nifty rising 0.39% to 10,592.7 by 0513 GMT and the Sensex by 0.35% to 35,969.38. Both indexes were set for their third straight weekly gain.
Total COVID-19 infections in India jumped by a record 20,903 cases to 625,544, including 18,213 deaths, health ministry data https://www.mohfw.gov.in showed on Friday, days after the government eased lockdown rules to revive the economy.
“People on the ground have started realising that many people in their first degree of connection are now coming down with COVID-19, and the fear of what another lockdown will do to industries is the biggest overhanging worry for investors,” said Nikhil Kamath, co-founder and chief investment officer, Zerodha.
The Nifty and Sensex have rebounded sharply from a virus-led crash in March, but remain around 13% lower for the year.
“There is clearly a disconnect between India’s economic fundamentals and markets,” said VK Vijayakumar, chief investment strategist at Geojit Financial Services. “Markets are being driven by liquidity.”
Broader Asian markets rose after data showed China’s services sector in June expanded at the fastest pace in over a decade, and U.S. nonfarm payrolls saw a better-than-expected jump. But higher infections in the United States capped gains.
Among individual shares, Reliance Industries Ltd rose as much as 1.4% to its highest since June 22 after saying Intel Corp would buy a 0.39% stake in its digital unit, Jio Platforms, for 18.95 billion rupees ($253.55 million).
Cadila Healthcare Ltd gained as much as 4.6% after getting an approval from Indian regulators to begin human studies for its COVID-19 vaccine contender.
HDFC Life Insurance Company Ltd jumped 5.1% to its highest since Feb. 25 after the National Stock Exchange said the firm would replace Vedanta Ltd in the Nifty 50 index from July 31.
Vedanta was the biggest loser on the Nifty 50, falling as much as 1.7%.