Shrugging off a weak start and a subsequent long spell in negative territory, the market moved higher, and, despite some volatility, managed to end the session on a positive note on Thursday.
While a subdued trend in Asian markets contributed to the weakness early on, some impressive results from India Inc and strong sales data from automobile manufacturers Maruti Suzuki and Mahindra & Mahindra lifted sentiment as the session progressed. A fairly steady trend in European markets too contributed to the positive close.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which rose to 18,589.13 after declining to around 18,445 around mid morning, ended the day with a gain of 56.32 points or 0.3% at 18,561.70. The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange closed at 5645.05, recording a gain of 25.35 points or 0.45%. The Nifty touched a low of 5601.95.
According to a survey, India'a manufacturing growth inched up in October from September's 10-month low, supported by a pick up in new orders and an easing of price pressures. The HSBC manufacturing purchasing managers' index, which gauges the business activity of India's factories but not its utilities, nudged up to 52.9 in October from 52.8 in September.
The new orders sub-index, an indicator of future output, edged up to 54.9 last month from 54.4 in September while export orders grew for the second straight month albeit at a slightly slower pace.
Data released last month showed manufacturing rose 2.9% in August from a year earlier after contracting 0.4% in the previous month. Overall output at factories, mines and utilities rose an annual 2.7%.
Consumer durables stocks, led by Titan Industries, turned in a fine performance today. Automobile and realty stocks too had a good outing. Power, healthcare, metal and capital goods stocks were subdued to start with, but gained in strength as the session progressed.
Bank stocks, which had some weak spells recently, found modest support. A few stocks from PSU and information technology sectors edged higher, while oil and FMCG stocks were mostly subdued.
Bharti Airtel gained nearly 4.5%. Cipla notched up a gain of 3.2%. Wipro ended higher by a little over 3%. Wipro announced that it will fold all its non-IT businesses into a new company and focus exclusively on information technology, sparking a more than 3% rally in its shares in Mumbai. The new unlisted firm, known as Wipro Enterprises Ltd, will include Wipro's consumer care, medical diagnostics and infrastructure units, Wipro said in a statement to the stock exchanges on Thursday.
Separation of its non-core businesses will allow Wipro to focus on IT, where it competes with Infosys Ltd and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. In FY12, Wipro's IT business accounted for 94% of its operating profit, the company said.
Tata Steel, Jindal Steel, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, BHEL, ICICI Bank, Dr Reddy's Laboratories and Coal India gained 0.4% - 1.5%. Larsen & Toubro too ended higher, with a strong order book lifting sentiment.
IDFC, Power Grid Corporation, Reliance Infrastructure, Axis Bank, Kotak Bank, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Jaiprakash Associates, Grasim Industries, ACC, Siemens and Ranbaxy Laboratories closed with strong gains.
Titan Industries rallied sharply on strong volumes thanks to upbeat quarterly results. Tata Global Beverages too moved up sharply on impressive volumes thanks to strong quarterly numbers.
PGCIL, State Bank of Mysore and Godrej Properties posted smart gains on impressive results, while Oracle Financial Services, JSW Energy, Carborundum Universal, Kalpataru Power and VIP Industries declined on disappointing results for the July - September 2012 quarter.
The market breadth was positive. Out of 2960 stocks traded on BSE, 1673 stocks moved up. 1162 stocks declined and 125 stocks ended flat.