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Indian shares hit new highs in special Saturday session

A man walks past the new logo of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai

By Bharath Rajeswaran

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian shares ended higher in a special session conducted on Saturday for stock exchanges to test a failsafe system for equity trading, with blue-chips indexes logging new record highs on the back of gains in metal stocks.

Indian equities traded in two special sessions from 9:15 a.m. IST to 10:00 a.m. from a primary site, and then from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. from a so-called disaster recovery site as exchanges tested how their systems would respond in the case of unexpected events.

India's markets regulator had scrutinised the NSE and BSE stock exchanges in the wake of a major trading outage in February 2021 due to a telecoms glitch, when the bourses failed to migrate to the disaster recovery site.

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The benchmark NSE Nifty 50 closed up 0.18% at 22,378.40, while the S&P BSE Sensex added 0.08% to 73,806.15, hitting record highs for the second day in a row.

"Strong economic fundamentals and steady earnings growth indicate that the momentum in domestic equities remains intact and could sustain further," said Abhijit Bhave, CEO and managing director of Equirus Wealth.

The Indian economy grew at a faster-than-expected 8.4% in the October-December quarter, data showed post market hours on Thursday. Twelve of the 13 major sectors advanced on Saturday.

The broader, more domestically focussed small- and mid-caps rose 0.69% and 0.74% respectively, outperforming the blue chips.

Small- and mid-caps had underperformed blue chips over the last week, dropping 0.72% and 1%, on concerns over flows into the segments.

Metals climbed 1.58%, led by Tata Steel, which added 3.60%, after rising about 6.5% on Friday on block deals.

Hero MotoCorp gained 1.57% after posting 18.75% year-on-year growth in total sales in February.

Tata Steel and Hero MotoCorp were the top two Nifty 50 gainers by percentage.

Equities will resume normal trading on Monday.

(Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Varun H K and Gerry Doyle)