INDIA STOCKS-Indian shares close first 2023 session on a positive note on metals boost

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BENGALURU, Jan 2 (Reuters) – Indian shares closed higher on Monday, the first trading session of 2023, helped by a rise in metals and financials.

The Nifty 50 index closed 0.51% higher at 18,197.45, while the S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.54% to 61,167.79.

Most major sectoral indices posted gains, with heavyweight metals and financials up 2.43% and 0.49%, respectively.

“COVID is the biggest monitor in the very near term,” said Yogesh Nagaonkar, founder and CEO of Rowan Capital Services, adding that bank stocks will likely outperform over the next few sessions on strong earnings prospects.

China announced plans to raise export tariffs on aluminum from January 1 in a bid to boost domestic demand, which analysts said would help market share growth for the Indian companies.

Metals demand would improve due to China’s reopening as well, analysts added, if the COVID situation remains manageable in the world’s second-largest economy.

Thirty-two of the Nifty 50 constituents advanced, with Tata Steel and Hindalco rising more than 5.7% and 2.75%, respectively, after global brokerage firm Jefferies upgraded the stocks to “buy” from “hold” and raised their price target.

Jefferies expects metals demand to improve due to China’s decision to ease restrictions and its COVID-19 measures to support its property sector.

Tata Motors jumped almost 2% and was among the top Nifty 50 gainers, after the company reported a 10% increase in domestic sales in December.

India’s manufacturing industry improved at the fastest rate in more than two years in December. Growth in new orders and output accelerated and optimism about the next 12 months remained near historic highs, the data showed.

Capping gains in domestic stocks was crude oil, which rose on the year-end holiday trips, with Brent crude futures at around $86 a barrel. Higher oil prices hurt oil-importing countries like India, where crude oil makes up the bulk of the country’s import bill.

($1 = 82.7170 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Uttaresh.V, Savio D’Souza, and Janane Venkatraman)

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