(Reuters) - Indian shares rose for the first time in five days in a low-volume session on Monday, with the benchmark Nifty 50 reclaiming the key 18,000 level, as risk assets were boosted after mixed U.S. data bolstered bets of smaller Federal Reserve rate hikes.
The Nifty 50 index closed 1.17% higher at 18,014.60, and the S&P BSE Sensex gained 1.20% to 60,566.42, marking their biggest daily gain since Nov. 24.
The Nifty fell 3.3% in the previous four sessions, slipping below the psychologically key 18,000 mark on Friday.
"I expect the markets to recover sharply as the punishment meted out on Thursday and Friday was unwarranted," said G Chokkalingam, founder and head of research at Equinomics Research and Advisory.
Data on Friday showed U.S. personal income rose more than expected last month, while consumer spending barely rose and inflation cooled further, rekindling bets of smaller-sized rate hikes from the Federal Reserve and improving risk appetite.
However, Chokkalingam cautioned of low volumes. "Normally, trading is thin this time of the year. Expect dullness in the market as foreign institutional activity dies down as they go on holidays."
Forty of the Nifty 50 constituents advanced, as did most of the major sectoral indexes.
Metal stocks rose more than 2%, tracking the rise in metals on the weak dollar and hopes of better demand after top consumer China pledged to boost its economy and real estate sector.
Banking stocks also advanced with and rising over 2.3% and 7%, respectively.
Among individual stocks, Tata Motors rose nearly 2%, after signing an electric bus deal with Delhi Transport Corp.
Index heavyweight Larsen and Toubro advanced after bagging orders worth between 10 billion rupees and 25 billion rupees.