Key Indian stock indices Sensex and Nifty ended sharply higher on Thursday as investors indulged in some hectic buying almost right through the session, betting on hopes the government will initiate steps to boost economic growth. A substantial decline in wholesale inflation in March, which raised hopes of a rate cut from the central bank, continued to aid sentiment.
Several markets in Asia and Europe moved higher amid hopes central banks across the globe will resort to some monetary easing to spur growth.
The Sensex, which spurted to 19,434.85 in late afternoon trade, ended the day with a gain of 227.49 points or 1.19% at 19,406.85, while the Nifty closed at 5916.30, slightly off the day's high of 5924.60, recording a gain of 79.40 points or 1.36%.
Automobile stocks turned in a fine performance. Healthcare stocks too mostly ended with strong gains. Oil, metal, bank, power and capital goods stocks were among the other prominent gainers. Select consumer durables, FMCG and PSU stocks too closed higher. Realty stocks failed to hold early gains, while information technology stocks were weak right through the session.
Dr Reddy's Laboratories ended 4.8% up, hitting a new high in the process. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries notched up a gain of 2.7% and Cipla gained 2.6%.
Automobile stocks Tata Motors (4.3%), Maruti Suzuki (3.5%), Hero Motocorp (3.1%), Mahindra & Mahindra (2.9%) and Bajaj Auto (1.8%) ended sharply higher.
HDFC, which ended 5.7% up on NSE, posted a gain of 2.6% on the Bombay Stock Exchange. GAIL India ended 4.3% up. NTPC ended higher by a little over 4%. Sterlite Industries (2.7%), Reliance Industries (2%), State Bank of India (up nearly 2%) and Hindalco (up nearly 2%) also closed on a high note.
BHEL, Coal India, Bharti Airtel, ICICI Bank, Tata Steel, Larsen & Toubro and ITC also ended notably higher.
Cement stocks Ambuja Cements, Ultratech Cement, Grasim Industries and ACC gained 3% - 4%.
Axis Bank moved up 3.7% on impressive results. Kotak Bank, Sesa Goa, Bank of Baroda, Cairn India, IDFC, Lupin, Punjab National Bank and IndusInd Bank ended with sharp to moderate gains.
IT stocks HCL Technologies, Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Wipro lost 1.2% - 2.4%.
DLF ended nearly 2% down. Jaiprakash Associates, Jindal Steel & Power and Hindustan Unilever lost 1% - 1.8%. NMDC and ONGC also closed weak.
The market breadth was slightly positive. Out of 2512 stocks traded on BSE, 1221 stocks moved up. 1158 stocks declined and 133 stocks ended flat.