India polls: Stocks surge to record high on hopes of BJP sweeping the polls

MUMBAI (AFP) - India's stock market jumped more than four per cent to a record high Friday as election results indicated Hindu nationalist party leader Narendra Modi was set to become the country's next prime minister.

The benchmark Bombay Stock Exchange index, known as the Sensex, rose 4.40 per cent, or 1,051.00 points, to 24,956.60 shortly after opening.

Among the biggest gainers were Power Finance Corp, which surged 10.02, the Punjab National Bank (9.99 per cent) and jewellery retailer the Titan Company (9.16 per cent).

The Indian rupee also surged 0.92 per cent to 58.75 to the dollar from its previous close of 59.29.

Markets have risen 5.0 percent in the past week as heady - many say unrealistic - optimism has returned after low business investment and economic growth, rising food prices and corruption.

Mr Modi looked set on Friday to sweep to victory in the national polls, riding a wave of public support for his message of jobs, development and revival of the economy which is growing at a decade low.

Mr Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is heading for its best ever result in the parliamentary vote after 10 years of rule by the leftist Congress party and the Gandhi political dynasty.