Indian shares kick off 2021 with record closing highs

BENGALURU, Jan 1 (Reuters) – Indian shares closed the first trading session of 2021 at record highs on Friday, led by the IT services sector, as continued foreign fund inflows and expectations of imminent COVID-19 vaccine roll-outs kept investors bullish.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index ended up 0.26% at 14,018.50, marking its first close above the 14,000 level, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex firmed 0.25% to 47,868.98.

The Nifty gained 14.9% in 2020 and the Sensex added 15.75%, both recording their best yearly performance since 2017.The indexes recovered more than 86% from March lows, boosted by liquidity support measures from global central banks and progress on COVID-19 vaccines.

India’s drug regulator is set to approve AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use at a meeting later in the day, Reuters reported citing three sources with knowledge of the matter.

The Nifty IT index closed up 0.84%, and heavyweight Tata Consultancy Services was the biggest boost to the Nifty 50.

Among individual stocks, Mahindra and Mahindra closed up 1.6%.U.S. automaker Ford Motor and Mahindra have called off their automotive joint venture due to challenges caused by the pandemic.

The Nifty Auto Index gained 0.86%, with Maruti Suzuki India, tractor maker delhi escorts, and automaker Ashok Leyland rising between 0.6% and 3.8% after reporting higher December sales.

Municipal solid waste management company Antony Waste Handling Cell jumped 29.3% from its offering price of 315 rupees per share in its market debut.

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Most markets across the world were closed for New Year’s Day.(Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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