After swinging between gains and losses amid somewhat cautious trades, the Indian stock market rallied smartly past noon and ended the session on a firm note on Monday with investors picking up stocks amid hopes the government will push forward economic reforms.
A strong opening in European markets amid slightly easing worries about the financial situtaion in the eurozone too aided sentiment to a significant extent. Investors were also betting on hopes of some monetary easing from the central bank following recent weak economic data.
The BSE benchmark Sensex ended the day with a gain of 61.17 points or 0.33% at 18,823.91, not far off the day's high of 18,838.54. The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange closed at 5718.80, gaining 15.50 points or 0.27%. The Nifty touched a high of 5722.95 during the day.
IT stocks Infosys (3%), Tech Mahindra (up nearly 5%), Oracle Financial Services (3.1%) and Mphasis (3.2%) moved up sharply. Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro and HCL Technologies ended with modest gains.
In the automobile space, Maruti Suzuki gave up early gains and ended 0.5% up. A fairly good sales report for September lifted the stock early on in the session. Tata Motors gained 2.7%, while Hero Motocorp and Mahindra & Mahindra ended flat. Bajaj Auto closed lower by a little over 1%.
Apollo Hospitals, up 5.2%, was the top gainer in the Healthcare index. Aurobindo Pharma, Biocon, Divi's Laboratories, Glaxo Smithkline Pharmaceuticals, Ranbaxy Laboratories and Strides Arcolab also closed with impressive gains, while Cadila Healthcare, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals and IPCA Laboratories ended notably lower. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries and Dr Reddy's Laboratories declined marginally.
Cement stocks had a good outing amid hopes of increased demand. Jaiprakash Associates notched up a gain of nearly 5%. Ambuja Cements moved up by 4.3%. Grasim Industries, Ultratech Cement surged 2.7%. India Cements, Madras Cements and Mangalam Cement also posted sharp gains.
Midcap and smallcap stocks had a good session. Mirroring strong buying at several stocks in these segments, the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices surged 0.89% and 1.42%, respectively.
The market breadth was positive right through the session. Out of 3037 stocks traded on BSE, 1805 stocks moved up. 1102 stocks declined and 130 stocks ended flat.
According to a business survey, India's manufacturing activity growth in September held steady compared with August, supported by a pick up in export orders and output. The HSBC manufacturing purchasing managers' index, which gauges the business activity of India's factories but not its utilities, held steady at 52.8 in September from 52.8 in August, which was a nine-month low.
The export orders sub-index jumped to 53.8 last month from 49.2 in August, its biggest rise in almost two years and the first reading above 50 in three months.