The market had a choppy ride, but then, thanks to some sustained buying in power, capital goods, realty and banking sectors, managed to sign off with moderate gains on Monday. Global cues were not any significantly positive and investors were mostly seen tracking corporate news for direction.
With a long weekend ahead and the reporting season not far away, the mood was generally cautious for most of the session. Sales and shipments data from automobile and cement manufacturers provided some cues.
The Sensex, which rose to 17,529.98, ended the day with a gain of 73.95 points or 0.42% at 17,478.15, while the Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange closed at 5317.90, off the day's high of5331.55, recording a gain of 22.35 points or 0.42%.
In economic news, the expansion of the manufacturing sector slowed for a third month in March as growth in new orders eased and costs for raw materials kept rising, according to a survey. The HSBC manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, compiled by Markit, eased to 54.7 in March from 56.6 in February. In January, the PMI reading was 57.5.
According to the data released by the government, India's exports grew an annual 4.3% to $24.6 billion in February, while imports rose 20.7% to $39.8 billion. The trade deficit widened to $15.2 billion during the month from $14.8 billion in January, while exports between April and February grew 21.4 percent to $267.4 billion
Consumer durables stocks turned in a fairly good performance on Monday. Mirroring strong gains posted by key stocks in that space, the BSE CD index went up by nearly 4%. The Power index ended 1.89% up and the Capital Goods barometer surged 1.74%, while the Realty and Bankex ended higher by 1.59% and 1.02%, respectively. Midcap and smallcap stocks were in demand.
DLF, up nearly 3%, was the top gainer in the Sensex. NTPC gained 2.75% and Tata Consultancy Services moved up by a little over 2%, while Larsen & Toubro ended nearly 2% up and BHEL moved up by 1.3%.
Mahindra & Mahindra gained 1.7% thanks to a sharp 25% jump in vehicles sales in March. Tata Motors too moved up sharply on impressive sales data, but gave up most of its gains and ended just 0.25% up. Hero Motocorp gained marginally, while Maruti Suzuki (down 0.9%) and Bajaj Auto (down 1.4%) ended in negative territory. Bajaj Auto declined following Sri Lanka raising import tariff on petrol and diesel powered three wheelers. The Sri Lankan government hiked import duty on petrol powered three wheelers to 100% against 51% previously. Similarly, duty on diesel powered three wheelers has been hiked to 100% from 61%.
State Bank of India and HDFC Bank gained 1.7% and 1.4%, respectively, while ICICI Bank, the other banking sector heavyweight in the Sensex, gained about 0.5%.
Cipla, HDFC, Bharti Airtel, Sun Pharmaceuticals, ONGC, Wipro and GAIL India closed on a firm note with smart gains.
Jaiprakash Associates, up 4.65%, was the top mover in the Nifty index. Reliance Infrastructure and Reliance Power gained 4.6% and 4.3%, respectively. HCL Technologies ended nearly 4% up. Kotak Bank, Cairn India, Siemens, Reliance Communications, Power Grid Corporation, Grasim Industries, Axis Bank and Ambuja Cements closed with sharp to moderate gains.
Ranbaxy Laboratories lost over 2.5%. Dr Reddy's Laboratories, BPCL, Hindalco, Sterlite Industries, Sesa Goa and Reliance Industries lost 1% - 1.6%. Hindustan Unilever and ACC ended nearly a percent down, while Tata Power, Coal India, Jindal Steel and Infosys drifted down by 0.3% - 0.8%.
Titan Industries rose more than 6% following the company receiving the government permission to import gold directly. Godrej Industries also ended more than 6% up. Bata India, Power Finance Corporation, REC, United Spirits, Manappuram Finance, Crompton Greaves, Havells India, Gujarat Minerals, Godrej Consumer Products, Neyveli Lignite Corporation, Indiabulls Financial Services and Bajaj Finserv gained 4% - 5.5%.
Aurobindo Pharma ended more than 4% down on reports that the company is under Central Bureau of Investigation scanner for alleged links with Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, MP and son of former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy. The company is accused of getting land allotted for its unit in Special Economic Zones at a cheaper rate and contravening several rules, according to reports.
Oil India, Pidilite Industries, Apollo Hospitals, Opto Circuits, Sun TV Network, Bharat Forge, Emami, Exide Industries, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation and Torrent Pharma also declined sharply.
The market breadth was strong. Out of 2879 stocks traded on BSE, 1932 stocks moved up. 852 stocks declined and 95 stocks ended flat.