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India's blue-chip Nifty 50 hits record high ahead of crucial tax meeting

BENGALURU, May 28 (Reuters) - India’s blue-chip Nifty 50 index hit a record high on Friday, as financials and materials stocks gained ahead of a key indirect tax related meeting by the country’s finance minister later in the day.

The NSE Nifty 50 index was up 0.65% at 15,437.05 by 0347 GMT, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was 0.53% higher at 51,383.43. Both the indexes have gained around 2% for the week.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will chair the GST Council meeting in the capital, where it is likely to discuss a reduction in the tax rate on Covid medicines and ways to make up for a revenue shortfall in various states, media report here said.

ICICI Bank Ltd and HDFC Bank Ltd were among the top boosts to the Nifty 50, gaining 0.8% and 0.6%, respectively. ICICI has risen for the last five sessions out of eight.

Nifty component Mahindra & Mahindra is set to report results later in the day.

Investor sentiment has also improved in the recent days due to a steady decline in daily COVID-19 cases in India. Earlier this week, the country reported its lowest daily rise of cases in more than a month.

In the broader Asian market, equities were on course for a seventh day of gains as investors bet the United States will lead the world out of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the focus turning to a multi-trillion dollar spending boost by the Biden administration. (Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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