Indian shares close at record highs as pandemic curbs ease, cases fall

BENGALURU, June 15 (Reuters) - Indian shares ended at record highs on Tuesday, as declining COVID-19 infections prompted many states to re-open businesses, with a rally in broader markets also helping the sentiment.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.36% to 15,869.25 and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex climbed 0.42% to 52,773.05 at close.

Many Indian states eased coronavirus restrictions on Monday, including the national capital New Delhi, where authorities allowed shops and malls to open as the number of new cases dropped to the lowest in more than two months.

India on Tuesday reported 60,471 new infections, the lowest since March 31.

The sentiment also tracked global stocks that hit a record high, as investors bet likely “transitory” inflation pressures will restrain the U.S. Federal Reserve from signalling a shift in policy settings.

Many investors expect the Fed to maintain its dovish stance at its two-day meeting starting on Tuesday. Some board members, however, have said the central bank should start discussing tapering its bond buying.

In Mumbai trading, financial stocks provided a boost to the Nifty 50, with ICICI Bank Ltd and HDFC Bank Ltd ending 1.6% and 0.7% higher, respectively.

The Nifty Bank Index and the Nifty Private Bank Index, which have so far gained more than 0.55% this week, were among the top performers across sub-indexes rising between 0.85% and 1.07%.

Software services firm Infosys Ltd rose 0.8%, lifting the Nifty IT index by 0.23%.

Shares of Future Retail Ltd closed 10% higher, after staying at those levels since early trade. (Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)