State-owned lenders lift Indian stocks; Nifty nears 9,700

Nifty PSU Bank index rose nearly 3 percent after brokerages upgraded leading state-owned lenders.

india trader
A stock broker looks at a terminal while trading at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai. REUTERS

Indian shares rose for a second straight session on Thursday, led by gains in realty and state-owned lenders, even as sentiment across Asia remained somber due to geopolitical worries .

At 0657 GMT, the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.50 percent at 31,401 while the broader Nifty advanced 0.45 percent at 9,681.

Asian equities tread lower after minutes from the Federal Reserve's last meeting showed a lack of consensus about when to shrink the central bank's balance sheet and how to approach policy strategy in a time of low inflation.

Geopolitical risks were exacerbated after North Korea's missile launch raised worries the reclusive nation is planning to build a device to attack mainland United States.

Sentiment back home was, however, positive.

Nifty PSU Bank index rose nearly 3 percent after brokerages upgraded leading state-owned lenders Bank of Baroda and Punjab National Bank as valuations turned reasonable after recent correction.

S&P BSE Realty index jumped 2.3 percent, with stocks such as Prestige Estates, Sobha and Unitech gaining between 3 percent to 6 percent.

Videocon Industries Ltd rose 5 percent. The stock hit upper circuit for seventh consecutive sessions.

Reliance Industries rose 0.4 percent, its fourth consecutive session of gains amidst hopes of improved quarterly earnings.

Consumer durables stocks were among the laggards, with Rajesh Exports falling 1.7 percent, Crompton Greaves shedding 0.8 percent while Whirlpool down 1 percent.

Market breadth was in the favour of gainers, with about 2 stocks advancing to every 1 stock that declined.