The Indian stock market opened on a buoyant note on Friday, tracking strong global cues, and after trading firm till a little past noon, retreated slowly on profit taking, but eventually managed to sign off with fairly decent gains.
A sharp rally in European markets on Thursday following the European Central Bank and the Bank of England pledging to keep interest rates low for an extended period to support growth, triggered some hectic buying in markets across Asia and set up a firm start for the Indian bourses as well. However, stocks gave up a substantial portion of their gains later on in the session with investors turning cautious following a slightly subdued trend in Europe ahead of key U.S. payroll data.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which rose to 19,640.27 in morning trade, ended the session with a gain of 84.98 points or 0.44% at 19,495.82. The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange closed at 5867.90, more than 30 points off the day's high of 5900.45, recording a gain of 30.95 points or 0.53%.
Index heavyweights and oil sector majors Reliance Industries (2.2%) and ONGC (2.3%) moved up sharply and contributed significantly to the market's positive close.
FMCG major Hindustan Unilever rose nearly 1.5%.
ITC ended higher by a little over 1%. Colgate Palmolive (2.3%), Jubilant Foodworks (1.2%), Tata Global Beverage (1.1%) and United Breweries (1.9%) also closed on a firm note.
Metal stocks saw some brisk buying after recent losses, but most of them failed to sustain at higher levels. Jindal Steel & Power (3.7%), NMDC (2.8%), Sesa Goa (0.8%) and Sterlite Industries (0.8%) closed higher. Tata Steel and Hindalco ended flat, while Coal India and SAIL closed with modest losses.
Capital goods stocks BHEL and Larsen & Toubro attracted buyers. While BHEL ended with a gain of 1.9%, Larsen & Toubro posted a modest gain of 0.5%. Carborundum Universal and Thermax closed on a high note.
Banking sector heavyweights State Bank of India and ICICI Bank lost 0.3% and 1.2%, respectively. HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, IndusInd Bank and Punjab National Bank ended notably higher.
Among realty stocks, Sobha Developers (2%) extended recent gains thanks to a surge in sales in the June quarter. Indiabulls Real Estate, Oberoi Realty, Phoenix Mill, Anant Raj Industries and HDIL also closed higher, while DB Realty, Godrej Properties and Peninsula Land declined.
IDFC, up 4.35%, was the top gainer in the Nifty index. Jaiprakash Associates too gained over 4%. Asian Paints, Ranbaxy Laboratories and Ultratech Cement also closed on a firm note.
Tata Motors, Cipla, Dr Reddy's Laboratories and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries closed on a positive note, while GAIL India, Bharti Airtel, Mahindra & Mahindra, Maruti Suzuki, Hero Motocorp, Lupin, HCL Technologies, DLF, Cairn India and Tata Consultancy Services ended with sharp to moderate losses.
The market breadth was almost even. Out of 2473 stocks traded on BSE, 1200 stocks moved up. 1135 stocks declined and 138 stocks ended flat.