Auto, realty stocks help Indian shares ahead of Q4 earnings

Indian shares settled marginally higher on Monday, helped by strong quarterly business updates from auto and realty companies, but rising odds of a U.S. Federal Reserve rate hike in May capped gains.

The Nifty 50 closed up 0.14% at 17,624.05, while the S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.02% to 59,846.51.

The Nifty and the Sensex have risen nearly 4% over six sessions ending on Monday. This is the longest winning streak for Nifty 50 in over four months since December 1. Investors now await the corporate earnings for the quarter-ended March, scheduled to begin this week.

Eight of the 13 major sectoral indexes advanced, with auto stocks rising over 1%.

Tata Motors surged 5.40% and was the top gainer in the Nifty, after several brokerages reiterated a "buy" rating and maintained positive view of the company after its business update for the March quarter. Tata Motors said JLR sales rose in Q4 as chip supply recovered.

Realty stocks jumped over 4%. Sobha climbed over 3% after saying its fourth quarter sales rose to record high 14.63 billion rupees ($178.8 million).

Max Healthcare rose over 2% after Motilal Oswal initiated coverage on the healthcare services firm with a "buy" recommendation, citing favourable demand, rising healthcare needs and higher health insurance penetration.

"The market has been on an upward bias," said Prashanth Tapse, senior vice president (research) at Mehta Equities, adding that healthy foreign institutional investors' buying over the last few sessions and economic data have fuelled optimism.

FIIs have remained net buyers in each of the last six sessions, adding 47.39 billion rupees worth of equities over the period.

Global equities remained subdued after data indicated that the labour market remained tight in March, in-line with expectations, increasing the odds of a Fed rate hike in May.