After a slightly positive start and a subsequent retreat, the Indian stock market moved in a tight band in negative territory till a little past noon, and then staged a smart rally to end the session on a firm note on Thursday.
Bargain hunting after recent sharp losses, a recovery in European markets and the government's decision to allow direct transfer of urea subsidy aided sentiment. Investors were also betting on more reforms announcements from the government and a rate cut from the central bank later this month. Expectations of good results from Infosys triggered some hectic buying at the IT bellwether counter and aided the rally.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which spurted to 18,847.81 in the final hour, ended the day with a gain of 173.65 points or 0.93% at 18,804.75. The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange closed at 5708.05, gaining 55.90 points or 0.99%. The Nifty touched a high of 5721.10.
Realty stocks, among the most prominent losers in recent sessions, came back strongly and mostly ended on a high note today. Mirroring hectic buying in that space, the BSE Realty index spurted as much as 4.61%.
Capital goods, metal, power, bank and PSU stocks too moved up smartly. Select FMCG, automobile, IT and oil stocks posted notable gains. Consumer durables and healthcare stocks found modest support. Midcap and smallcap stocks had a fairly good outing.
Capital goods heavyweights BHEL and Larsen & Toubro moved up by 2.7% and 2.3%, respectively. Tata Motors, Tata Steel and Bharti Airtel gained more than 2%.
State Bank of India, Tata Power, Hindalco, Coal India, Sterlite Industries, ONGC, Bajaj Auto, Hindustan Unilever and ITC gained 1% - 2%. Infosys, which moved up by almost 4% at one stage, closed with a gain of a little over 1%. HDFC, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, NTPC, ICICI Bank and Reliance Industries too closed on a positive note.
Jaiprakash Associates (3.75%), DLF (3.75%), Bank of Baroda (3.5%), Punjab National Bank (3.3%), Axis Bank (up nearly 3%) rallied sharply.
Reliance Infrastructure, Sesa Goa, IDFC, HCL Technologies, Grasim Industries, ACC, Kotak Bank and Cairn India also posted strong gains.
Lupin and Cipla ended lower by 2.9% and 2.1%, respectively. Maruti Suzuki, Ultratech Cement, Ambuja Cements and Wipro closed with modest losses.
IndusInd Bank and Sintex Industries moved up on impressive quarterly results. Unitech shot up following the company settling its dispute with Telenor.
Fertilizer shares had a bright session following the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approving the proposal to allow payment of fertilizer subsidy to companies based on the receipt of fertilizers and the acknowledgement of receipts of the same by retailers. Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers, Chambal Fertilizers, Zuari Global, National Fertilizers, GSFC, Coromandel Fertilizers, Tata Chemicals and Deepak Fertilizers & Chemicals all saw some strong buying today.
The market breadth was positive. Out of 2971 stocks traded on BSE, 1656 stocks moved up. 1183 stocks declined and 132 stocks ended flat.