July 24--MUMBAI -- India's benchmark stock market indices closed at new records on Thursday, powered by shares of steel, metal and mining companies which rose after Chinese manufacturing gauge topped estimates.
Shares of insurance companies also rose after the Union cabinet cleared 49% foreign direct investment (FDI) in insurers, up from the current 29%.
The 30-share S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.48%, or 124.52 points, to close at an all-time high of 26,271.85 points, while the 50-share CNX Nifty added 0.45%, or 34.85 points, to end at a fresh high of 7,830.60 points.
During the day, the Sensex hit an all-time high of 26,292.66 points, while the Nifty rose to a fresh high of 7,835.65 points.
The S&P BSE Metal index was the top sectoral gainer, up 1.47%. The S&P BSE Consumer Durables declined 0.93%, the most among sectoral indices.
Shares of insurance companies rose.
China's factory activity expanded at its fastest pace in 18 months in July as new orders surged, a preliminary HSBC survey showed on Thursday, the latest indication that the economy is picking up as government stimulus measures kick in.
The HSBC/Markit Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 52 in July from June's final reading of 50.7, beating a forecast of 51 in a Reuters poll.
It was the highest reading since January 2013, and above the 50-point level that separates growth in activity from contraction for the second consecutive month.
Since the beginning of this year, the Sensex has gained 23.65%, while foreign institutional investors have bought $11.91 billion from local equity markets.
Reuters contributed to this story.