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Indian shares extend sharp post-budget gains on finance, infra boosts

BENGALURU, Feb 2 (Reuters) - India’s benchmark index scaled the 50,000-mark again on Tuesday, as finance and infra stocks gained after investors cheered the government’s move to step up spending and propel a recovery in the pandemic-hit economy.

The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was up 2.17% at 49,656.93 by 0457 GMT after rising as much as 3.2% to 50,154.48. The NSE Nifty 50 index climbed 2.1% to 14,581.10.

“It is a reaction to the budget as well as short-covering. This will be there for a few days and we should be cautious at the current level” said AK Prabhakar, head of research at IDBI Capital in Mumbai.

In its federal budget, India boosted healthcare spending by 135%, lifted caps on foreign investment in its vast insurance market, and increased capital expenditure for 2021/2022 by 35%.

“We have rallied almost 1,000 points for the budget. Whatever proposals were given, have been planned for one or two years. Nothing is going to happen tomorrow and valuations are already stretched.” Prabhakar said.

Among individual shares and sectors, the Nifty Bank Index rose as much as 4.7% to a record high, helped by a 6.9% jump in top private-sector lender HDFC Bank.

Infrastructure firm Larsen & Toubro climbed as much as 10% to an all-time high, making it among the top percentage gainers of the day.

Jaguar Land Rover parent Tata Motors gained 10% and was the top percentage gainer on the Nifty 50 after reporting a 27.6% rise in domestic sales in January.

The Nifty Auto index rose 3.4%. The index was also supported by a new vehicle scrappage policy announced in the budget.

Mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corp added 5% ahead of its quarterly results, while Indigo Paints jumped as much as 84.4% in its market debut.

Reporting by Philip George in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V

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