India’s Sensex Climbs to Record as Drugmakers Gain Amid Inflows

India’s benchmark stock index rose to a record for a sixth day as international investors extended Asia’s largest equity-market inflows.

Bharti Airtel Ltd. rallied to the highest level since Jan. 15 amid a report that the nation’s largest carrier plans a $2 billion bond sale to lower debt costs. Wockhardt Ltd. surged by the daily limit amid speculation the U.S. regulator may ease an import ban on Indian drugs. Tata Motors Ltd., owner of Jaguar Land Rover, advanced to a one-month high.

The S&P BSE Sensex added 0.5 percent to 22,551.49 at the close. The gauge climbed 5.5 percent in the previous quarter, beating stocks in Brazil, Russia and China, as easing inflation and forecasts for a change in government after polls starting next week lure inflows. Foreigners bought a combined $479.6 million of local shares on March 28 and 31, taking this year’s investments in Indian equities to $4.1 billion.

“Relentless buying by foreign investors is lifting market sentiment,” said Gajendra Nagpal, executive officer at Augment Financial Services Pvt. in New Delhi. “The pre-election rally is getting a boost from moderating inflation and the deficits getting under control.”

The Reserve Bank of India yesterday kept the benchmark rate at 8 percent as retail inflation eased to a two-year low and the government forecast smaller budget and current-account shortfalls. The rupee strengthened to an eight-month high. The currency had its biggest quarterly gain since September 2013, rallying 3.2 percent to 59.89 per dollar on March 28.

Bharti Airtel gained 3.3 percent. The company plans to sell $2 billion of bonds in the year started April 1, Economic Times reported, citing two people it didn’t identify.

‘FDA Problems’

Wockhardt surged by the 20 percent limit, pacing a rally in the S&P BSE Healthcare Index. Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd., the nation’s largest drugmaker, soared 9 percent, the most since Aug. 28. The stock has risen 17 percent in four days. Strides Arcolab Ltd. rallied 10 percent to a three-month high.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently said a study that found “quality issues” with generic drugs may not be valid, K.R. Choksey Shares analyst Hitesh Mahida said in a phone interview today. That may be seen “as a positive” for companies such as Ranbaxy, Wockhardt and Strides which have had “problems with the FDA,” he said.

Wockhardt spokesman Sagar Joshi didn’t respond to two calls on his mobile phone and Ranbaxy spokesman Gaurav Chugh declined to comment.

Mid-Caps Rally

Budget carrier SpiceJet Ltd. surged 19 percent and Jet Airways Ltd. rallied 14 percent. Motherson Sumi Systems Ltd., a maker of autoparts, increased to a record 264.95 rupees as Bank of America analyst Sanjaya Satapathy said the stock may jump threefold in five years to 820 rupees.

The S&P BSE Mid-Cap Index and the S&P BSE Small-Cap Index climbed to their highest levels since January 2013.

“Mid-caps are catching up to the Sensex, which is at a record,” Arun Kejriwal, a director with Kejriwal Research & Investment Pvt., said by phone from Mumbai today. “There is no euphoria yet. This indicates the rally has distance to go.”

The CNX Nifty Index rose 0.5 percent to 6,752.55, climbing for a 10th straight day, the longest run of gains since October 2007. The Sensex has climbed 6.5 percent this year and trades at 14.3 times projected 12-month profits.

The market regulator and the currency market were shut on March 31 for a holiday and there was no rupee trade yesterday as banks closed their accounts.

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