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Banks buoy Indian shares; coronavirus cases cross 20 mln

BENGALURU, May 4 (Reuters) - Indian shares edged higher on Tuesday, supported by gains in financials and metal stocks, even as the country crossed the grim milestone of 20 million coronavirus cases.

The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.24% to 14,669.95 by 0355 GMT, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex inched up 0.2% to 48,813.62.

India reported 357,229 new COVID-19 cases over the last 24 hours, taking the total tally to 20.28 million, health ministry data showed.

The second wave of COVID-19 infections has overwhelmed the healthcare system and forced states to enter lockdowns, but has not hit the equity market as hard as in the initial wave last year. The Nifty is up about 5% so far in 2021.

On Tuesday, the Nifty Bank index rose 1.1%, while the Nifty Metal index advanced 1.8% to a record high.

Nifty 50 component Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone climbed 2.4% ahead of its quarterly results. (Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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