Indian shares kick off 2021 with gains; IT stocks rise

BENGALURU, Jan 1 (Reuters) – Indian shares opened higher on the first trading session of the new year, a day after the Nifty 50 index ended 2020 with gains of nearly 15%, as a jump in IT services stocks lifted the main indexes.

The blue chip NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.24% to 14,015.90 on Friday and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.23% to 47,860.77 by 0349 GMT.

The Nifty gained 14.9% in 2020, its best yearly performance since 2017, while the Sensex gained 15.75%. Both the indexes recovered more than 86% from a virus-driven crash in March, boosted by liquidity support measures from global central banks and progress on COVID-19 vaccines.

Investors are eyeing Indian drug regulator’s meeting on Friday to consider approving AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.

Among individual shares, Mahindra and Mahindra rose 1.8%. U.S.-automaker Ford Motor and Mahindra have called off their automotive joint venture due to challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

InterGlobe Aviation, the parent company of India’s largest airline, IndiGo, fell 1.2%. The company on Thursday disclosed bit.ly/3o4dEBX that some of IndiGo’s servers were hacked earlier this month.

Most Asian markets and the U.S. market is closed for the new year holiday.

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