Indian stocks advanced for a second time in three days after companies including Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd and Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd announced better-than-estimated earnings. The BSE India Sensitive Index, or Sensex, rose 0.3% to 18,758.63 at the close. Sterlite, the biggest copper maker, climbed the most in a month after reporting a 74% jump in profit. Mahindra, India’s largest tractor producer, had that sharpest gain in a month, the best performance on the gauge. Earnings have trailed analyst forecasts at only one of the 11 Sensex companies that have reported results for the quarter ended September, compared with 40% in the three months through June, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The Sensex has surged 21% this year as foreigners bought a net $18.2bn of shares, the most among 10 Asian markets tracked by Bloomberg, excluding China. “Earnings are not too disappointing, with most companies reporting earnings in line with, or exceeding, expectations,” Harsha Upadhyaya, head of equities at Kotak Mahindra Mutual Fund, said yesterday. “If interest-rate cuts are sharp over the next year or so, there is a case for earnings to be upgraded probably in the second half of fiscal year 2014” that starts on April 1, 2013, he said. The rupee forwards advanced, rebounding from a one-month low, after the Federal Reserve said it will maintain pro-growth policies that have spurred fund inflows to higher-yielding assets. The rupee’s gains were limited as importers stepped up purchases of the dollar to meet month- end payments, according to Sudarshan Bhatt, chief currency trader at state-owned Corp Bank. In the spot market, the rupee rose 0.3% from Tuesday to 53.5750 per dollar in Mumbai, after dropping as much as 0.2% earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Financial markets in India were shut on Wednesday for a public holiday.