* NSE index up 0.32 pct, BSE index 0.43 pct higher
* GST rate cuts lift sentiment
* Indexes set to post 7th straight weekly gain
By Jessica Kuruthukulangara
Jan 19 (Reuters) - Indian shares rose for a third straight session on Friday, led by financial stocks amid improved investor sentiment after the government decided to cut tax rates on certain products and services.
The rates have been lowered after revenues dipped following the rollout of a landmark nationwide sales tax from July. Taxes on goods including used motor vehicles and precious stones, and services relating to mining and oil exploration, are among those that will be reduced from Jan. 25.
“Markets were expecting some rationalisation in GST rates. Now, any good news with respect to filing taxes will definitely bring cheer to the market,” said Saurabh Jain, assistant vice president of research at SMC Global Securities.
The broader NSE index was up 0.32 percent at 10,851.50 as of 0546 GMT, while the benchmark BSE index was 0.43 percent higher at 35,410.93.
Both indexes were on track to post their seventh consecutive weekly gain.
The Nifty PSU bank index gained as much as 2.3 percent, with State Bank of India and Canara Bank Ltd rising more than 2 percent each.
HDFC Bank Ltd and Reliance Industries Ltd were each up more than 1 percent ahead of third-quarter results later in the day.
Biocon Ltd rose as much as 4.5 percent after it announced a tie-up with Sandoz.
Cyient Ltd climbed as much as 7.1 percent after its third-quarter consolidated revenue rose.
Bharti Airtel Ltd slipped as much as 2.3 percent after it posted a smaller-than-expected quarterly net profit.
Asia stocks ex-Japan, meanwhile, gained 0.5 percent to hit a record high.
Reporting by Jessica Kuruthukulangara in Bengaluru; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath