Indian Stocks Climb for Second Day as Axis Bank, ONGC Advance – Bloomberg

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Indian stocks headed for a three-week high, led by lenders, as Asian equities rose after crude oil climbed to levels last seen in October.

Axis Bank Ltd. and Oil & Natural Gas Corp. were among the top gainers on the S&P BSE Sensex. GAIL India Ltd., the biggest natural gas producer, rose the most in two weeks. Housing Development Finance Corp., the biggest mortgage lender, gained for a second day. Larsen & Toubro Ltd., the largest engineering company, added 1.3 percent.

The Sensex added 0.5 percent at 10:46 a.m. in Mumbai. The pickup in commodity prices is helping a recovery in global equities, after weaker economic data wiped out almost $2 trillion of value in the first two weeks of May. Crude traded near a six-month high after advancing 3.3 percent on Monday. Foreign investors bought $240 million of Indian stocks on May 13, taking this year’s inflows to $2.1 billion.

“Rising crude prices are giving some comfort on the global front,” Kaushik Dani, a fund manager at Karvy Stock Broking Ltd. in Mumbai, said by phone. “On the domestic front, corporate earnings are being rolled over to the next fiscal year. That is giving support to the markets.” He is bullish on automakers and lenders.

The Sensex completed its best week in a month on Friday amid optimism that company earnings are recovering after the worst run since the global financial crisis. Eight out of 15 index companies that have posted March-quarter results so far exceeded or matched estimates. Investors have also been bullish after this year’s prediction for above-normal rainfall after back-to-back deficits and the passage of key economic bills in parliament.

Axis Bank surged 2.8 percent to its highest level since Oct. 27. Oil & Natural Gas jumped 3.1 percent. GAIL climbed 2.1 percent. Housing Development Finance rose 1.3 percent.