A bronze bull sculpture is seen as an employee walks out of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai April 1, 2014.

New Delhi - India's stock markets soared to record highs Tuesday after exit polls predicted that Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi was on course to become the next prime minister.

The 30-share Sensex of the Bombay Stock Exchange rose more than 2 per cent, or 480.43 points, at midday to cross the 24,000 level for the first time.

The index had gained more than 1,600 points in three sessions since Friday.

The National Stock Exchange's 50-share Nifty rose by 2.12 per cent to a new high of 7,163.25 points at the same time.

Market analysts said investors were optimistic that the Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party will form a stable government and initiate measures to revive the economy that has seen a slowdown in recent years.

“Exit polls indicate the possibility of a stable government. In the initial jubilation surrounding a new government, the markets are expected to see a swift rise,” said Sudhakar Ramasubramanian, chief of Aditya Birla Money.

“The budget and the ability of the new government to address the (economic) policy paralysis and kick-start the investment cycle will have major bearing on the extent of investor optimism in the marketplace,” he said.

Modi is currently chief minister of Gujarat, one of India's most economically advanced states.

He has promised to develop new jobs and investment in Asia's third-largest economy.

Most exit polls released after the five-week long elections that ended Monday suggest that Modi's party will secure a majority of seats in the 543-member parliament to enable Modi to become premier.

But Indian exit polls have been wrong in the past, and some political analysts remain wary of them. Official results will be released on Friday. - Sapa-dpa