Despite a lack of triggers from global markets and absence of positive news flow from the domestic front as well, stocks moved higher on the Indian bourses on Wednesday with traders indulging in some short-covering ahead of expiry of near month derivatives contracts.
The market took a retreat of sorts after opening on a firm note, but recovered swifty around mid morning, rallied sharply and managed to hold its gains as buying continued in several blue chip stocks.
Besides short-covering, some expectations that the U.S. government would try and avert the fiscal cliff and an announcement from the Indian government that it will take steps to boost the country's merchandise exports contributed to an extent to the market's upmove.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which rose to 19,468.40, ended the day with a gain of 162.37 points or 0.84% at 19,417.46. The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange closed at 5905.60, slightly off the day's high of 5917.30, recording a gain of 49.85 points or 0.85%.
Capital goods, bank and realty stocks had a good session. Stocks from power, oil, healthcare and metal sectors too surged higher. Consumer durables, FMCG and automobile stocks ended on a mixed note, while information technology stocks were mostly subdued.
Telecom stock Bharti Airtel gained 2.8%. ICICI Bank, Larsen & Toubro and Jindal Steel & Power moved up by 2% - 2.4%. State Bank of India, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Bajaj Auto and Tata Power gained 1.5% - 2%.
BHEL, ITC, Reliance Industries, Sterlite Industries, HDFC, Mahindra & Mahindra, HDFC Bank, Cipla and GAIL India also closed notably higher.
Jaiprakash Associates ended stronger by 2.7%. Cairn India, IDFC, Asian Paints, Punjab National Bank, Sesa Goa, Siemens, Lupin, DLF, Ultratech Cement, Bank of Baroda, Ranbaxy Laboratories, Power Grid Corporation, BPCL, Axis Bank and Reliance Infrastructure also closed notably higher.
Hindustan Unilever, Hero Motocorp, Infosys, Grasim Industries, Tata Motors and HCL Technologies closed weak.
Credit Analysis and Research Limited (CARE) shares made an impressive debut. The stock ended at Rs 927, up 23.6% from the issue price, after hitting a high of Rs 985. On the National Stock Exchange, the CARE counter clocked a volume of over 10 million shares.
The market breadth was marginally positive. Out of 3066 stocks traded on BSE, 1523 stocks moved up. 1416 stocks declined and 127 stocks ended flat.