Sensex, Nifty rise after finance minister's remarks on stimulusSensex, Nifty rise after finance minister's remarks on stimulus
A man wearing a protective mask walks past the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai

By Sachin Ravikumar

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Indian shares rose on Wednesday, led by Reliance and ITC, as the country’s finance minister suggested she would not rule out further stimulus measures to aid an economic recovery, following poor reaction to an already announced package.

Indian stocks have fallen sharply in recent sessions as investors viewed the government’s economic package as doing little to boost demand to revive an economy hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government would assess the need for further economic measures as the situation evolves, according to interviews to three local financial dailies published on Wednesday.

“As we go along, we will see. We cannot shut the doors,” she told the Business Standard newspaper, when asked if there would be another economic package.

Coronavirus infections in India continued to rise steadily, reaching 106,750 as of Wednesday – a jump of more than 5,600 from the day before – with deaths crossing 3,300.

India has been under a two-month lockdown to curb the spread of the virus, which has hit the incomes of millions and starved companies of several weeks’ worth of revenues, dampening the growth outlook for Asia’s third largest economy.

“With the stimulus package lacking measures to boost demand and protect employment, India is staring a deep recession in the face,” said Kunal Kundu, India economist at Societe Generale in Bengaluru.

The Nifty 50 was up 0.77% at 8,947.50 by 0500 GMT, while the S&P BSE Sensex was up 0.78% at 30,430.65.

Shares in Reliance Industries Ltd led the gains rising 1.8%. The oil-to-telecoms conglomerate’s rights issue, the country’s biggest, began on Wednesday.

Consumer goods giant ITC Ltd rose more than 3% to a two-week high, while construction firm Larsen & Toubro Ltd gained 2.8%.

(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)