Mumbai

India’s benchmark stocks gauge rose for a third day on Monday to close on the verge of a record.

Expectations that the central bank will this week announce its second interest-rate cut for 2019, and a national election that will see Prime Minister Narendra Modi reelected helped boost sentiment in a market that capped its best quarter since June 2018 on Friday. Profit-booking in some bank stocks in the final hour of trade kept the Sensex from closing at a new high, traders said.

The S&P BSE Sensex Index added 0.5 per cent to 38,871.87 after briefly topping its previous record set end of August, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index rose 0.4 per cent. The rally mirrored a surge in stocks worldwide after strong manufacturing data out of China helped ease investor worries about a slowdown in global growth.

Foreigners have pumped more than $7 billion into India stocks so far this year — among the highest in Asia — on optimism that lower borrowing costs and a second term for Modi in the upcoming polls would support earnings growth in Asia’s third-biggest economy. The advance has put India on course to become first among markets valued at more than $1 trillion to hit a record high in 2019.