India’s Sensex Climbs to Two-Week High as Energy Companies Gain

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Indian stocks advanced for a third day amid expectations the government will speed up policy steps to boost growth in Asia’s third-biggest economy.

Coal India Ltd. rose to more than a five-month high after a report that the world’s largest producer may consider raising prices next month. NTPC Ltd., the top power utility, climbed to a two-week high. Gail India Ltd., a natural-gas distributor, had its biggest four-day gain in almost two months.

The S&P BSE Sensex added 1.2 percent to 27,701.79 at the close. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduced the landmark goods and services tax bill in parliament on Dec. 19 as the government aims to ease commerce by replacing a web of state levies. The GST, which must be approved by 15 of India’s 29 states as well as both houses of parliament, would offer the economy a boost of as much as 1.7 percent, according to the National Council of Applied Economic Research.

“The fact that the government was able to introduce the GST bill in this session is a big positive,” P. Phani Sekhar, a fund manager at Angel Broking Ltd., said in a Bloomberg TV India interview today. The GST is one of the key reforms that the government is pushing, the brokerage said.

Coal India jumped 3.8 percent to 390.4 rupees, the most since Sept. 24 and the best performance on the Sensex today. The company may consider raising prices by up to 8 percent in January, ET Now channel reported, citing no one.

HDFC, Mahindra

NTPC rose 2.6 percent to its highest level since Dec. 8, while Gail India increased to a two-week high. Tractor maker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. had the biggest jump in four months, while Housing Development Finance Corp., the biggest mortgage lender, climbed to a one-month high.

The Sensex is poised for its best annual performance since 2009, helped by net inflows of $16.5 billion, the highest among eight Asian markets tracked by Bloomberg, after Japan.

While Modi’s was voted into office in May with the biggest majority in three decades, his party’s push to woo more foreign investment to the insurance industry and revamp coal mining has been delayed by disruption in the upper house of parliament.

Proceedings were adjourned as opposition parties asked the hardline Hindu groups linked to the Bharatiya Janata Party to stop forced religious conversions. Modi lacks an upper house majority and needs opposition support to enact legislation. The ongoing winter session of the parliament ends tomorrow.

“I’m not disappointed by the pace of reforms at all as a new government will take some time to settle,” Hiren Ved, the chief investment officer at Alchemy Investment Management Ltd., which has $350 million, told Bloomberg TV India today. “The government’s intent is very clear.”