Sensex, Nifty jump over 3% as banks surge on bargain hunting

By Sethuraman N R

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Indian shares closed over 3% higher on Wednesday as value investors stepped in to buy beaten-down banking stocks, while Axis Bank surged after a report said private equity group Carlyle was in discussions with the lender for a fund infusion.

The Nifty banking index rose as much as 8.22%, with Axis Bank surging 14.2% and heavyweights HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank gaining 5.8% and 9%, respectively.

The index lost 8.3% last week and is down 41.8% so far this year, as banks that are already under pressure from over $100 billion in bad debt, stare at more defaults by businesses hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Axis Bank shares rose as much as 15% during the afternoon session after the Economic Times newspaper reported private equity group Carlyle may invest $1 billion for an 8% stake in the bank.

The lender, which was the

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