February 19, 2019 / 6:11 AM / 8 months ago

Indian shares follow Asian peers higher; ICICI Bank top boost

* Both NSE, BSE index up 0.4 pct

* Asian shares near 4-mth high

* BSE index snaps 8-day losing streak, NSE index halts 7-day decline

By Krishna V Kurup

Feb 19 (Reuters) - Indian shares rose on Tuesday, bolstered by gains in broader Asian markets amid optimism around Sino-U.S. trade talks and on expectations of stimulus measures from major central banks.

Asian shares lingered near four-month highs after reports of progress in trade talks between the United States and China prompted investors to be mildly optimistic that the two countries can reach a compromise by a March 1 deadline.

There are also growing expectations of more reflationary policies from some of the world’s more powerful central banks.

The broader NSE index advanced 0.4 percent to 10,683.20 as of 0602 GMT, while the benchmark BSE index added 0.43 percent to 35,651.63.

“This is kind of a relief rally after days of falls. There are no positive triggers with the U.S. market also shut on Monday,” said Saurabh Jain, assistant vice-president (research), SMC Global Securities.

The NSE index gained after seven days of losses, while the BSE index snapped eight days of falls on Tuesday.

The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) decision to hand the government an interim dividend may also have spurred optimism, as a spending boost before the general election will aid companies in the consumer space, Jain said.

The RBI said on Monday it had decided to transfer an interim surplus of 280 billion rupees ($3.92 billion) to the government for the half year ended Dec. 31.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been pushing the RBI for more money ahead of what is expected to be a tight national election due by May to fund a widening fiscal deficit.

Index-heavyweights Reliance Industries Ltd and ICICI Bank Ltd led the gains on the NSE index, rising as much as 1.3 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.

Realty stocks also advanced, with the Nifty Realty index gaining as much as 2.8 percent to a two-week high. Prestige Estates Projects Ltd surged more than 8 percent and DLF Ltd spurted 4.8 percent.

IT stocks lost ground, with Nifty IT index falling as much as 1.5 percent. Infosys Ltd was the top drag on the NSE index, losing as much as 2.5 percent.

$1 = 71.4300 Indian rupees Reporting by Krishna V Kurup in Bengaluru; Editing by Shreejay Sinha

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