Indian Stocks Climb to Two-Week High as Infosys, Tata Steel Rise

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Indian stocks gained, with the benchmark index climbing to a two-week high, as software exporters and metal producers rallied.

Wipro Ltd. and Infosys Ltd. were the two biggest gainers on the S&P BSE Sensex. Tata Steel Ltd. rose for a third day on speculation the government is considering raising import tax on some products. Bharti Airtel Ltd., the largest mobile-phone operator, jumped the most in a week after its earnings beat estimates. Nestle India Ltd. soared the most in seven years after a government laboratory found Maggi noodles to be safe.

The Sensex increased 0.5 percent to 28,223.08, the highest close since July 23, while a gauge of mid-cap stocks climbed to a record. With the central bank maintaining interest rates on Tuesday, investor focus has shifted back to earnings, according to Karvy Stock Broking Ltd. Fourteen of the 20 Sensex firms, or 70 percent, have announced results so far for the June quarter that have matched or exceeded estimates, versus 40 percent in March, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“The event risk is out of the way, and the market is now focusing on the remainder of the earnings season, legislative agenda and other fundamental factors,” P. Phani Sekhar, a fund manager at Karvy, said by phone.

Sekhar said he’s overweight on defensives and exporters, and underweight on metals and mining companies.

Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan maintained the main interest rate at 7.25 percent after three cuts this year. The central bank will monitor for room to ease policy as it waits for lenders to pass on the previous cuts, he said.

Infosys and Wipro added 2.8 percent each. Bigger rival Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. increased 1.5 percent.

Import Tax

Bharti climbed 1 percent. It said after market hours on Monday its first-quarter group net income increased 40 percent to 15.5 billion rupees ($243 million), beating the 13.6 billion rupees estimated by analysts.

Tata Steel increased 2.4 percent, extending Tuesday’s 3.4 percent gain. Steel Authority of India Ltd. climbed 2.5 percent and JSW Steel Ltd. extended Tuesday’s 5.5 percent rally. The companies have slumped 15 percent to 34 percent this year.

The government may increase the import tax on flat-steel products by as much as 12.5 percent in next few days, Bloomberg TV India reported Tuesday, citing ministry officials it didn’t identify.

Nestle India soared 7.7 percent, the most since April 30, 2008. Maggi noodle samples from Goa state sent in June to the Central Food Technological Research Institute in Mysore were found to contain lead within permissible limits, Goa State Food and Drug Administration Director Salim Veljee said by phone.

Adani Enterprises Ltd. jumped 4.7 percent, extending Tuesday’s 11 percent rally after Foxconn Technology Group confirmed it is in talks with the Indian company for a venture.

International investors bought a net $52 million of Indian stocks on Aug. 4, taking this year’s inflows to $7.2 billion.

The Sensex has gained 2.6 percent this year and trades at 15.8 times projected 12-month earnings. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is valued at a multiple of 11.2.

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