* NSE index firms 0.3 pct, BSE index up 0.2 pct
* NSE metal index surges on strength in metal prices
* TCS gains ahead of results; Mindtree hits record
By Vishal Sridhar
April 19 (Reuters) - Indian shares inched higher on Thursday on the back of gains in metal stocks as global aluminium prices soared, while the country’s biggest software services exporter, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, rose ahead of its results.
The NSE metal index jumped as much as 4.2 percent as aluminium prices on the London Metal Exchange surged 5 percent to their highest in almost seven years on Thursday.
Shares of Vedanta Ltd, the Indian unit of diversified miner Vedanta Resources Plc, rose as much as 6.1 percent to their highest since March 19, while National Aluminium Co Ltd gained nearly 10 percent to hit its highest in over three months.
The broader NSE index was up 0.31 percent at 10,558.70 as of 0552 GMT, while the benchmark BSE index was 0.22 percent higher at 34,405.68.
“Markets had a breather on Wednesday mainly due to profit booking, but the optimism of positive quarterly results are driving the momentum,” said Anand James, chief market strategist at Geojit Financial Services.
Investors cheered March-quarter results of IT firm Mindtree Ltd, sending the shares to their all-time high, while cement maker ACC Ltd climbed to a five-week high after reporting a 19 percent jump in quarterly profit late Wednesday.
Information technology stocks bounced back from recent losses with the NSE IT index up more than 1 percent and TCS gaining nearly 1.6 percent.
Meanwhile, shares of state-run oil refiners tumbled and were the top percentage losers on the NSE index as oil prices remain close to late 2014-highs on the back of declining U.S. crude inventories, while top exporter Saudi Arabia pushed for higher prices.
Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd plunged as much as 6.1 percent to hit its lowest since early January 2017, while Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd touched its lowest since late September 2016, dropping nearly 6 percent.
“Investors are shrugging off the rising oil prices as our inflation over the past few months has eased and even the monsoon forecast is for a normal one,” James added. (Reporting by Vishal Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)