March 24, 2020 / 11:58 AM / in 14 days

Indian shares end higher on stimulus promise

* Updates to closing levels

By Chandini Monnappa

BENGALURU, March 24 (Reuters) - Indian shares closed 3% higher on Tuesday after the country’s finance minister said the government would announce an economic stimulus package soon to help battle the impact of the rapidly spreading coronavirus.

Sentiment was also boosted by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s move to roll out an unprecedented array of measures on Monday to help the world’s largest economy fight the pandemic.

The NSE Nifty 50 index closed 2.51% higher at 7,801.05, while the S&P BSE Sensex settled 2.67% higher at 26,674.34.

Both the indexes rose slightly over 5% after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman promised an economic package and an extension of some tax filing deadlines on a video conference with reporters on Tuesday.

“Market came off its highs ... on the fact that the economic package was still in development,” said Vinod Nair, head of research at Geojit Financial Services.

Sitharaman did not give details on when the country would announce the package, but said there was “no intention of delaying such announcements.”

Indian stocks have tumbled more than 30% so far in March, with major indexes suffering their worst single-day fall in history on Monday.

The rapidly spreading virus has forced the government to push several states into lockdowns, bringing normal life to a grinding halt. India has so far registered over 471 cases of coronavirus and reported 9 deaths.

In Mumbai, shares of Infosys Ltd was the top gainer, closing up 12%. The Nifty IT index finished the session over 6% higher.

Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel and Anil D'Silva

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