BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian shares closed the first trading session of 2021 at record highs on Friday, led by the IT services sector, as continued foreign fund inflows and expectations of imminent COVID-19 vaccine roll-outs kept investors bullish.
The blue-chip Nifty ended up 0.26% at 14,018.50, marking its first close above the 14,000 level, while the benchmark Sensex firmed 0.25% to 47,868.98.
The Nifty gained 14.9% in 2020 and the Sensex added 15.75%, both recording their best yearly performance since 2017. The indexes recovered more than 86% from March lows, boosted by liquidity support measures from global central banks and progress on COVID-19 vaccines.
India's drug regulator is set to approve AstraZeneca and Oxford University's COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use at a meeting later in the day, Reuters reported citing three sources with knowledge of the matter.
The Nifty IT index closed up 0.84%, and heavyweight Tata Consultancy Services was the biggest boost to the Nifty 50.
Among individual stocks, Mahindra and Mahindra closed up 1.6%. U.S. automaker Ford Motor and Mahindra have called off their automotive joint venture due to challenges caused by the pandemic.
The Nifty Auto Index gained 0.86%, with Maruti Suzuki India, tractor maker Escorts, and automaker Ashok Leyland rising between 0.6% and 3.8% after reporting higher December sales.
Municipal solid waste management company Antony Waste Handling Cell jumped 29.3% from its offering price of 315 rupees per share in its market debut.
Most markets across the world were closed for New Year's Day.
(Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)