Sensex, Nifty rise over 1%; multiplexes, autos surgeSensex, Nifty rise over 1%; multiplexes, autos surge
People walk past the Bombay Stock Exchange building in Mumbai

By Sethuraman N R

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Indian shares ended higher on Thursday as investor sentiment got a boost from the federal government’s nod to open movie theatres, a surge in September auto sales numbers and data showing a rebound in factory activity in September.

The Nifty rose 1.5% to 11,416.95 and the Sensex gained 1.7% to 38,697.05. The indexes added over 3% this week, in the best weekly gain since early June.

India’s federal government on Wednesday allowed states to reopen movie theatres at 50% capacity, and said schools and educational institutions could restart in a phased manner.

Shares in India’s top cinema chains PVR Ltd and INOX Leisure jumped as much as 15% and 17.6%, respectively, pushing the Nifty media index 2.8% higher.

India’s factory activity in September expanded at its fastest pace in more than eight years, a private survey showed.

Shares of automakers rose after posting higher September sales, pushing the Nifty auto index up 0.8%.

Bajaj Auto’s shares jumped 8.1% after it reported a 10% surge in September sales. Maruti Suzuki gained 2.5%, following a 31% jump in sales last month.

“Whatever auto sales numbers have come they are better … the unlock guidelines have also helped sentiments,” said Neeraj Dhawan, director at Quantum Securities in New Delhi.

Investors covered their short positions in banks ahead of a Supreme Court hearing on Oct. 5 over banks waiving interest rates on loans under a moratorium, leading to a rally in bank stocks, Dhawan said.

The Nifty bank index rose 3.7%.

Shares of Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd and Oil India Ltd fell as much as 3.8% and 2.6%, respectively, after India cut the price of locally produced gas for October 2020-March 2021 to a multi-year low.

Markets will be closed for a national holiday on Oct 2.

(Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V and Shinjini Ganguli)