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Indian shares ride high on ICICI Bank, Reliance surge

BENGALURU, April 26 (Reuters) - Indian shares jumped on Monday, with private-sector lender ICICI Bank Ltd climbing after strong quarterly results, as investors hoped that surging coronavirus cases could peak soon and mitigate the pandemic’s economic impact.

The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 1.36% to 14,539.15 by 0426 GMT, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was up 1.49% at 48,587.7. Up to Friday’s close, the indexes had shed around 7% and 9%, respectively, from peaks hit in February.

Total COVID-19 cases in India surged by a 352,991 on Monday, a fifth straight day of record jump in new infections, as the increase overwhelmed its healthcare system and prompted nations like the United States to offer aid.

However, analysts say the current virus wave will not have an impact on the stock market similar to that of the first.

“This time, while we may not have a cure for the pandemic, we understand it better and the market believes it will worse-case push growth out by three to six months, which is partially already reflected in the correction we have had,” said Amit Shah, head of India equity research at BNP Paribas in Mumbai.

Shah also said markets may see a 10% correction from the peak.

ICICI Bank topped gains with a 6.2% jump to a near six-week high, after reporting a more than three-fold surge in March-quarter profit, while HCL Technologies slid 3.3% on downbeat earnings.

Mphasis Ltd climbed 6.5% to a two-week high after Blackstone made an offer to buy an additional 26% stake in the IT outsourcing services provider for 82.62 billion rupees ($1.10 billion).

Reliance Industries advanced 3% after the company and BP Plc announced the start of production from a gas field off the east coast of India.

Nifty 50 components HDFC Life Insurance Company and Tech Mahindra are set to report their quarterly results on Monday. (Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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