The BSE benchmark Sensex hit the magical 20,000 mark in a flash this morning, and despite retreating soon thereafter, moved past the coveted mark again in afternoon trade, after trading in a tight range for close to four hours. And, despite coming off higher levels again, the barometer managed to sign off on a positive note today, as several front line stocks from across various sectors found fairly good support till the end.
Expectations of buoyant results from India Inc, hopes of some monetary easing from the central bank later this month, the government's decision to defer implementation of GAAR, and data showing heavy buying by FIIs in recent sessions aided the surge.
While the Sensex, which rose to 20,036.82, its best level since 7 January 2011, ended the day with a gain of 80.41 points or 0.4% at 19,986.82, the Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange closed at 6056.60, a few points off the day's high of 6068.50, recording a gain of 32.55 points or 0.54%.
Information technology stocks opened on a firm note thanks to good quarterly results from Tata Consultancy Services, but failed to hold gains. Realty stocks moved up on expectations of a rate cut. Bank and automobile stocks too found good support in afternoon trade.
Select FMCG and consumer durables stocks ended notably higher. Power, healthcare and capital goods stocks ended on a mixed note. Metal stocks were mostly subdued.
Bharti Airtel rose nearly 5%. ITC ended almost 2% up. ICICI Bank, Tata Power, Bajaj Auto, Tata Motors, ONGC, NTPC, Hindalco, GAIL India, Cipla, Wipro and Maruti Suzuki gained 0.5% - 1.6%.
Tata Consultancy Services came off early highs and ended just marginally up. After trading hours on Monday, Tata Consultancy Services announced that its consolidated net profit as per International Financial Reporting Standards rose 1.1% to Rs 3552 crore on 2.9% growth in revenue to Rs 16070 crore in the quarter ended December 2012, over the quarter ended September 2012. Operating income rose 4.8% to Rs 4381 crore in the December quarter, from the previous quarter.
TCS said its net profit rose 1.4% to $652 million on 3.3% growth in revenue to $2.948 billion for the quarter ended December 2012 and operating income rose 5.3% to $804 million.
Ambuja Cements, BPCL, Axis Bank, Ultratech Cement, ACC, DLF, Cairn India, Grasim Industries, Jaiprakash Associates and Lupin ended with sharp to moderate gains.
Sesa Goa, Coal India, HCL Technologies, Asian Paints, Reliance Infrastructure, Power Grid Corporation, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Mahindra & Mahindra, State Bank of India, Infosys and Jindal Steel & Power closed notably lower.
Axis Bank and Bajaj Finance moved higher on good results. Mahindra Satyam, Crompton Greaves and HCL Infosystems too moved up on stock specific news.