Shrugging off a cautious and slighlty listless start, the Indian stock market moved higher on Wednesday as investors indulging in some sustained buying, amid expectations the government will strive to pass insurance and pension bills during the winter session of the parliament.
Though Asian markets ended on a mixed note and European markets traded weak, the mood on the Indian bourses was fairly bullish, save for a few minutes early on in the session.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which drifted down to 18,309.81 in early trades, rose to 18,478.50 in the final hour and eventually ended the day with a gain of 131.06 points or 0.72% at 18,460.38.
The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange settled at 5614.80, recording a gain of 43.25 points or 0.78%. The index touched a low of 5561.40 and a high of 5620.20 during the session.
Realty stocks were in demand. Mirroring their surge, the BSE Realty index moved up by nearly 2.5%. FMCG, consumer durables and bank stocks too mostly ended on a high note.
Select information technology, healthcare, metal and oil stocks surged higher. Capital goods and automobile stocks were a bit subdued, while power stocks drifted lower.
Cipla rose 2.7% on reports the company will buy 51% stake in Cipla Medpro, a marketing joint venture in South Africa.
Sun Pharmaceutical Industries gained around 2.5%. Tata Power, Jindal Steel & Power and ICICI Bank ended nearly 2% up. HDFC Bank, Wipro, Hindalco, GAIL India, Infosys, Larsen & Toubro, Tata Steel, Hindustan Unilever, Reliance Industries, Tata Consultancy Services, Sterlite Industries and Mahindra & Mahindra also closed on a firm note.
Jaiprakash Associates ended 3.2% up. Ambuja Cements, Asian Paints, Axis Bank, Ranbaxy Laboratories, Sesa Goa, Ultratech Cement and Sesa Goa gained 1% - 2.3%.
NTPC lost nearly 4% on news that the Union Cabinet is likely to approve the disinvestment of around 10% stake in the state-run power major tomorrow. According to reports, the Cabinet is likely to consider a proposal to disinvest 9.50% stake in state-run power company on Thursday. The government will clear sale of about 783.3 million shares, resulting in 9.5% dilution in government stake in NTPC.
BHEL ended lower by around 3%. Power Grid Corporation, Cairn India, Punjab National Bank, Bajaj Auto, Hero Motocorp, Tata Motors, Lupin, Siemens, HDFC and Bharti Airtel also closed weak.
Retail stocks Pantaloon Retail, Shoppers Stop and Trent rallied sharply on hopes the FDI issue may get resolved in the winter session of Parliament.
The market breadth was marginally positive. Out of 2984 stocks traded on BSE, 1487 stocks moved up. 1362 stocks declined and 135 stocks ended flat.