After a rousing start and a subsequent fall from higher levels that resulted in erosion of a good portion of its early gains, the market rallied smartly past mid morning, but failed to sustain at higher levels once again, but still ended the session on a fairly bright note on Friday.
Global cues were weak with markets in Asia and Europe drifting lower. Concerns about slowing economy weighed as well, but the market managed to hold on in positive territory thanks to some stock specific stories prompting investors to indulge in steady buying at a few front line counters.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which vaulted to 28,726.26 in early trades, ended up 167.48 points or 0.59% at 28,468.75. The Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange ended at 8821.70, gaining 43.70 points or 0.5%, after scaling a high of 8896.45 and a low of 8804.25 intraday.
In the forex market, the rupee was trading at 66.99 against the U.S. dollar around late afternoon, up 0.12% from its previous close of 67.07.
Healthcare, bank and oil stocks posted strong gains. Automobile, capital goods, power and realty stocks started off on a bright note, but ended well off their highs, with some of these even declining into negative territory. FMCG stocks were mostly subdued. Information technology and metal stocks were weak.
Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, up 4.1%, was the top gainer in the Sensex. Cipla gained 1.6% and Lupin advanced 1.3%, while Dr Reddy's Laboratories ended marginally down.
HDFC Bank spurted more than 9% after the central bank allowed foreign investors to buy more shares in the bank following their holdings falling below the prescribed limit. However, the stock gave up most of its gains and ended just 3.75% up.
Tata Motors gained 1.6% on bargain hunting after recent losses. ICICI Bank and GAIL India gained 1.5% and 1.4%, respectively. Reliance Industries, Bharti Airtel, Power Grid Corporation, HDFC, ITC and Larsen & Toubro posted modest gains.
Tata Power, GAIL India, Grasim Industries, Aurobindo Pharma, Ambuja Cements, IndusInd Bank, Zee Entertainment Enterprises, ACC and Kotak Bank gained 0.4% - 1.5%.
Bharti Infratel declined 3.7%. Hindalco ended 2.3% down. Wipro, Eicher Motors, Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, Hero Motocorp and Asian Paints declined 1% - 4%.
Idea Cellular declined 1.8%. Idea Cellular and BHEL (up marginally) will be moved out of the Nifty50 index from March 31, and will be replaced by Indian Oil Corporation and Indiabulls Housing Finance.
The market breadth was almost even. Out of 3018 stocks traded on BSE, 1424 stocks advanced. 1388 stocks declined and 206 stocks ended flat.