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Stocks gain on Greece deal



Mumbai: Indian stocks Indian stocks rose the most in Asia after Europe, the country's top trading partner, reached a deal on Greece and as Moody's Investors Service repeated its stable outlook on the South Asian nation's credit rating. The 30-stock BSE India Sensitive Index added 1.7 per cent to 18,842.08 at the close, the steepest gain in two months.

All 10 industry groups advanced on the MSCI India Index. Housing Development Finance, the biggest mortgage lender, and HDFC Bank soared to records, contributing a quarter of the gains in the Sensex. Sterlite (India) and Infosys climbed for the second day. Euro-area finance ministers cut Greece's interest rates and gave it more time to pay back loans while dismissing calls for debt relief that may be needed to keep the country afloat over the longer term.

India's rupee halted a five-day decline after Moody's said the country's Baa3 rating is supported by economic growth that's more than emerging-market averages. "The news flow on Europe and Moody's contributed to the positive sentiment," Kaushik Dani, a fund manager at Peerless Mutual Fund, which has $886 million in assets, said from Mumbai.

"Foreign flows have been strong irrespective of weak economic macros and political uncertainties, signaling the confidence investors have in India's long-term growth." Housing Development Finance surged as much as 3.4 per cent to Rs802, an intraday record.

The stock added 3 per cent to Rs799.2 at close, the most since August 13. HDFC Bank jumped 2.8 per cent to Rs680.5, the highest-ever closing price. Sterlite soared 3.6 per cent to Rs102. Infosys, which gets 98 per cent of its sales from overseas, added 2.2 per cent to Rs2,470.65.

Overseas funds have been buyers of local shares for all but one day this month even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government struggles to reach an accord with opposition parties on plans to attract foreign retailers. Foreigners have bought a net $19.2 billion of shares this year, the most among 10 Asian markets, excluding China, data from the nation's market regulator show.

"We are confident of the numbers," Manmohan told reporters in New Delhi yesterday after a meeting with his allies, the Press Trust of India reported. The government refused to concede to opposition demands for a vote in parliament on retail reform, part of a package of measures to spur growth in an economy that probably grew at the weakest pace since 2009 in the September quarter.

Gross domestic product may have grown 5.3 per cent in the September quarter from a year ago, finance minister Palaniappan Chidambaram forecast November 24. Economists forecast a 5.2 per cent growth in the economy, according to the median estimate in a survey before data due November 30.

Moody's said the high home-savings rate and a relatively competitive private sector will help boost expansion from 5.4 per cent in the year to March 2013 to 6 per cent or higher the following year. Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings cut their outlooks to negative earlier in 2012. All three rank the nation at the lowest investment-grade level.

The Sensex has rallied 22 per cent this year, driven by foreign inflows.

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