Indian shares rise on strong earnings; food delivery firm Zomato files for IPO

BENGALURU, April 28 (Reuters) - Indian shares hit a near three-week high on Wednesday, helped by gains in financial and automaker stocks on strong quarterly results, while shares of Zomato Ltd’s top shareholder rose after the food delivery startup filed for an IPO.

By 0507 GMT, the NSE Nifty 50 index gained 0.71% to 14,757, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.78% to 49,327.30.

Both the indexes fell nearly 2% last week, as investors fretted over the economic impact from a furious surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths. India added over 1.2 million cases and 8,000 deaths in the week to April 23.

“Over the last two (to) three days, and especially over the weekend, there have been some positives such as... the U.S. allowing supply of COVID-19 materials and resources to India, and a fall in the number of active cases, especially in worst-hit states like Maharashtra,” said Gaurav Garg, head of research at CapitalVia Global Research in Indore.

Investors have also turned their attention to the March-quarter earnings season, with key blue-chip companies such as consumer giant Hindustan Unilever and conglomerate Reliance Industries set to report their results later this week.

Meanwhile, S&P Global Ratings said the second COVID-19 wave in India poses downside risks to GDP and heightens the possibility of business disruptions, adding that the high number of infections presents a “significant contagion risk” to other geographies.

Shadow bank Bajaj Finance climbed as much 3.9% following a jump in its March-quarter profit. The company was the top percentage gainer on the Nifty 50.

Two-wheeler maker TVS Motor Company rose as much as 17.3% after beating profit estimates, while its peers and Nifty 50 components Hero MotoCorp and Bajaj Auto also climbed.

Info Edge (India), the top shareholder in Zomato Ltd, gained as much as 3% following the food delivery startup’s IPO filing.

Reporting by Chris Thomas and Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V