Despite a lack of triggers from holiday-shortened U.S. markets and a somewhat mixed and subdued trend across markets in Asia and Europe, the Indian stock market signed off on a high note on Friday, with traders thronging information technology counters following the rupee's weakness against the greenback.
The mood was a bit cautious early on in the session, with concerns about near term liquidity crunch and the likely slowdown in pace of economic growth weighing on sentiment. But the market shrugged off that phase and gained in strength subsequently.
The rupee, which tumbled to a record low of 68.86 against the U.S. dollar on Thursday, regained some ground today, rising to 68.45 a dollar, but it still triggered the appetite for IT stocks.
For a while till a little past noon, IT and healthcare stocks hogged the limelight. As the day progressed, stocks from banking, consumer durables, capital goods, metal, power and realty sectors began climbing higher, and in the end, it was a pretty strong close for the key indices Sensex and the Nifty50.
The Sensex ended up 456.17 points or 1.76% at 26,316.34, slightly off the day's high of 26,343.95. The Nifty50 settled at 8114.30, gaining 148.80 points or 1.87%.
IT majors Tata Consultancy Services (5.3%), Infosys (4.8%), Wipro (3.1%), Tech Mahindra (5.8%) and HCL Technologies (4.1%) ended sharply higher. Several other IT stocks, including KPIT Technologies, MindTree, Oracle Financial Services, Hexaware Technologies, Tata Elxsi and NIIT Technologies too recorded impressive gains.
Among healthcare stocks, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries and Aurobindo Pharma gained 4.4% and 4%, respectively. Lupin, Cipla, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, Cadila Healthcare, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, Piramal Enterprises and a host of other counters too saw strong buying and recorded sharp gains.
In the banking space, Yes Bank, Federal Bank, IndusInd Bank, Canara Bank, HDFC Bank, Punjab National Bank and Bank of India gained 1.5% - 4%. Kotak Bank ended 1.2% up. City Union Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Allahabad Bank, IDBI Bank, Andhra Bank and Union Bank of India also ended notably higher, while ICICI Bank and Axis Bank posted modest gains.
Realty stocks Indiabulls Real Estate, Oberoi Realty, Phoenix, Omaxe and HDIL ended notably higher. Unitech jumped 7.7%, while DLF and Sobha ended weak.
Among capital goods stocks, AIA Engineering, BEML, BHEL, Praj Industries, Greaves Cotton, Suzlon Energy, SKF India, FAG Bearings, Larsen & Toubro and Thermax gained 1% - 5%.
Power stocks JSW Energy, NTPC, NHPC, GMR Infrastructure, Adani Power, Reliance Infrastructure, Tata Power, Reliance Power and Power Grid Corporation posted strong gains.
FMCG stocks Tata Global Beverages, Jubilant Foodworks, Marico, ITC, Emami and Hindustan Unilever ended on a firm note.
Among metal stocks, Nalco gained 7.8%, JSW Steel climbed 3.7%, SAIL ended 2.9% up and Jindal Steel & Power gained 2.7%. Tata Steel (2.4%) and NMDC (2.1%) also rose sharply, while Coal India and Vedanta posted modest gains.
In the Oil & Gas index, GAIL India gained 3.5% and Castrol India gained 2.7%. Hindustan Petroleum Corporation ended 2.3% up and Indian Oil Corporation advanced 1.3%.
Automobile and telecom stocks were relatively subdued and closed on a mixed note.
The market breadth was pretty strong. Out of 2794 stocks traded on BSE, as many as 2036 stocks posted gains. 594 stocks declined and 164 stocks ended flat.