India’s Sensex Climbs to 2-Week High as Software Stocks Advance

Indian equities advanced, led by technology companies and banks, as the benchmark index posted its second weekly advance.

Software exporter Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. was the biggest gainer on the S&P BSE Sensex. State Bank of India, the largest lender by assets, rose to a two-week high. Cipla Ltd. added 1.8 percent, sending a gauge of drugmakers to a record.

The Sensex increased 0.6 percent to 21,193.58, the highest close since Dec. 10. U.S. equities gained to an all-time high after data showed home sales held near a five-year high and orders for durable goods rose more than forecast, indicating growing momentum in the world’s largest economy. India’s top software makers, which get more than 90 percent of their sales from abroad, are among the top four performers on the Sensex in 2013 as an 11 percent decline in the rupee and economic revival in developed nations boosts the outlook for Indian exporters.

“Exporters rallied on speculation of a revival in export demand following improvement in the U.S. economy,” Jagannadham Thunuguntla, chief strategist with SMC Global Securities Ltd., said by telephone from New Delhi. “Fewer bets are being placed because of the holiday season, which is reflected in lower volume and volatility.”

The 50-stock CNX Nifty Index rose 0.6 percent to 6,313.80. Volume on the measure was 44 percent below the 30-day average. The 50-day volatility on the Sensex was 15.5, near the lowest since May, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The India VIX, a gauge of options prices on the Nifty, fell 1.5 percent.

Infosys, Monsanto

State Bank of India, the worst-performer on the index this year, rose 1 percent. ICICI Bank Ltd. advanced 1 percent to the highest level since Dec. 12. Housing Development Finance Corp. added 1.2 percent, the most since Dec. 20.

Infosys jumped 1.2 percent to a record. Bigger rival Tata Consultancy, which has rallied 72 percent this year and the most among all Sensex stocks, advanced 2.9 percent. Wipro Ltd., the third-biggest software exporter, added 1.2 percent.

Monsanto India Ltd. jumped as much as 17 percent to the highest since Sept. 2011 after an Economic Times report said the government may allow genetically modified food crops in the country. Bayer CropScience Ltd. gained 1.3 percent to 1,705 rupees. The stock rose to a record 1,820 rupees intraday.

Cipla gained the most since Dec. 17. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. advanced 1.1 percent. The S&P BSE Health Care Index added 0.7 percent to a record-high.

Financial Technologies India Ltd. declined 1 percent to a one-week low. The founder of the Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd. was asked to cut its holding in the bourse after the regulator said it was unfit to own a controlling stake. MCX Ltd. slumped 4.4 percent, the most since Nov. 12.

Fund Inflows

The Sensex has climbed 9.1 percent this year, advancing to a record on Dec. 9, as global funds poured almost $20 billion into local shares even amid elevated inflation and the slowest economic growth in more than a decade. The gauge is valued at 13.6 times projected 12-month earnings, with the five-year average multiple of 14.3. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is valued at 10.5 times.

Foreign funds bought a net $126.5 million of local shares on Dec. 26, taking this year’s inflows to $19.85 billion, the most in Asia after Japan. Net purchases last year were $24.6 billion, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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