It was a splendid trip up north for stocks on the Indian bourses on Friday as the bulls stayed aggressive right through the day, buoyed by the government's decision to notify the rules for allowing greater FDI in retail, aviation and broadcasting industries.
The decision to approve the rules allowing an income-tax waiver of 50% on new equity investments of up to Rs 50,000 by retail investors too aided sentiment to a significant extent. Slightly easing worries on the political front contributed as well to the market's impressive surge.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which zoomed to 18,866.87 during the day, gaining nearly 520 points, ended the day with a gain of 403.58 points or 2.2% at 18,752.83.
The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange closed at 5691.15, nearly 30 points off the day's high of 5720, recording a gain of 136.90 points or 2.46%. The Sensex and Nifty hit their best levels since 26 July 2011 and 8 July 2011, respectively.
Power and capital goods stocks were on song. Several stocks from metal, banking, PSU, realty and oil sectors closed with handsome gains. Automobile and FMCG stocks too mostly closed on a firm note. Pharmaceuticals, consumer durables and information technology stocks found some support early on, but retreated as the session progressed.
BHEL, up 7.2%, turned in a sparkling performance and was the top gainer in the Sensex. Jindal Steel moved up by nearly 6.5% and Sterlite Industries gained 5.2%. State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Larsen & Toubro, Tata Power and Bharti Airtel gained 4% - 4.4%.
Tata Steel, Hindalco, ONGC, HDFC Bank, Mahindra & Mahindra, GAIL India, NTPC, HDFC, Maruti Suzuki, Reliance Industries and ITC moved up by 2% - 4%. Wipro, Tata Motors and Bajaj Auto also closed on a firm note.
Reliance Infrastructure shot up by nearly 10%. Shares of other Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group companies too ended with strong gains.
Axis Bank and SAIL closed higher by 7.8% and 7.7%, respectively. Jaiprakash Associates gained 6.5%. IDFC, Punjab National Bank, Grasim Industries, Bank of Baroda, Kotak Bank, Power Grid Corporation, Cairn India, Ambuja Cements and DLF gained 2% - 5.5%. Asian Paints, ACC and Siemens also closed notably higher.
Dr Reddy's Laboratories, Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys missed out on the rally and ended notably lower. Cipla closed marginally down.
Aviation stocks Kingfisher Airlines, SpiceJet and Jet Airways were in demand. Shares from retail sector, Pantaloon Retail, Provogue, Shoppers Stop, Koutons Retail, Trent, V2 Retail and Store One Retail India moved higher following the government notifying the rules for allowing 51% FDI in multi-brand retail.
With several midcap and smallcap stocks moving higher on sustained buying support, the market breadth was quite strong today. Out of 3040 stocks traded on BSE, 1815 stocks surged higher. 1102 stocks declined and 123 stocks ended flat.