After a bright start, the Indian stock market faltered a little past noon, but after spending a few minutes in negative territory, bounced back smartly and ended the session on a firm note amid high volatility on Thursday.
While positive global cues lifted sentiment early on, expectations of fairly buoyant numbers from IT major Infosys helped pull the market out from lower levels in the afternoon.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which declined to 18,397.94 in early afternoon trade, bounced back and ended the session with a solid gain of 127.75 points or 0.69% at 18,542.20. The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange closed at 5594, more than 50 points off the day's low, recording a gain of 36 points or 0.64%. The Nifty hit a high of 5610.65.
IT stocks, led by Infosys, traded firm right through the session. Realty, bank and capital goods stocks too posted strong gains. Select healthcare and automobile stocks moved up sharply. And there were smart gains for a few FMCG and consumer durables stocks too. Oil, metal and power stocks drifted lower.
Tata Motors ended nearly 4% up thanks to the company's subsidiary Jaguar Land Rover reporting an impressive surge in sales in March. IT bellwether Infosys gained 3.75%, with investors picking up the stock, anticipating good quarterly results. ICICI Bank moved up by a little over 3.5%.
Larsen & Toubro gained more than 2%. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Cipla, ONGC, HDFC Bank, Maruti Suzuki, State Bank of India, Hindustan Unilever, Sterlite Industries and Tata Consultancy Services also closed on a firm note.
Realty stock DLF, up nearly 5%, was the top gainer in the Nifty index. Lupin gained 3.8%. IndusInd Bank (3.5%), HCL Technologies (3.4%) and Ranbaxy Laboratories (2.5%) also ended with handsome gains. Jaiprakash Associates and Axis Bank also posted impressive gains.
Bharti Airtel ended 2.7% down on selling pressure following the company's chief Sunil Mittal appearing in court on receving summons in the spectrum case. Tata Steel, NTPC, Grasim Industries and HDFC also closed lower by over 2%.
Bajaj Auto, IDFC, Kotak Bank, Reliance Infrastructure, Reliance Industries, Tata Power, Coal India, Hero Motocorp, Power Grid Corporation and BPCL also ended notably lower.
Jindal Stainless, Sterlite Technologies, Siemens and Kingfisher saw some buying during the day on stock specific news. Jet Airways declined sharply on reports there will be a dealy in the Etihad deal.
The market breadth was slightly positive. On the Nationa Stock Exchange, 485 stocks moved up. 445 stocks declined and 42 stocks ended flat. Among the Nifty stocks, 26 stocks moved up, while 24 stocks ended weak.