India’s Sensex Index Rises; NMDC Gains as Net Exceeds Estimates

Aug. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Indian stocks rose to the highest level in a week. NMDC Ltd. led gains among raw material producers after its quarterly profit beat analysts’ estimates.

NMDC, Asia’s third-biggest iron-ore producer, gained 3.2 percent as first-quarter profit almost doubled. Hero Honda Motors Ltd., the nation’s largest motorcycle maker, advanced after its sales increased in July. Foreign investors were net buyers of Indian stocks for a 19th straight day, according to the market regulator.

“Some stocks are highly valued, so investors should bet on those with high growth potential,” said D.K. Aggarwal, who manages about $100 million as chairman of SMC Wealth Management Services Ltd. in New Delhi. “There’s no concern about India’s economy at the moment.”

The Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensitive Index, or Sensex, gained 35.55, or 0.2 percent, to 18,116.76 at 11:24 a.m. in Mumbai, set for its highest close since July 23. The S&P CNX Nifty Index on the National Stock Exchange rose 0.2 percent to 5,443.20. The BSE 200 Index increased 0.4 percent to 2,315.50.

NMDC rose 3.2 percent to 270.60 rupees, set for its steepest gain since May 31. Profit in the three months ended June 30 climbed to 15 billion rupees ($326 million) after prices for the steelmaking ingredient rose. The average estimate of five analysts compiled by Bloomberg was 12 billion rupees.

ICICI Bank

Hero Honda gained 1.3 percent to 1,849 rupees after it said July two-wheeler sales advanced 17 percent to 427,686 units.

ICICI Bank Ltd., the country’s second-biggest lender, gained 2.4 percent to 961.65 rupees, on course for its highest close in more than three months. The stock is extending yesterday’s 3.8 percent surge after Credit Suisse Group AG raised the shares to “outperform” as quarterly profit increased 17 percent.

Emami Ltd., a maker of health-care products, gained 0.7 percent to 478.5 rupees after saying it will build its first overseas factories in Egypt and Bangladesh to meet demand for soaps, ointments and creams.

Overseas funds bought a net 10.4 billion rupees of Indian equities on July 30, raising total investments in the stocks this year to 487.3 billion rupees, according to the nation’s market regulator.

Inflows from overseas reached a record 834.2 billion rupees in 2009, exceeding the high set two years ago in local currency terms, as the biggest advance in 18 years lured foreign funds. They sold a record 529.9 billion rupees of shares in 2008, triggering a record annual decline.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rajhkumar K Shaaw in Mumbai at rshaaw@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Linus Chua at lchua@bloomberg.net