Equities, led by front line stocks from realty, banking, automobile and capital goods sectors, rallied sharply on the Indian bourses on Thursday, as traders, buoyed by a firm trend in global markets on the back of easing worries about the U.S. fiscal cliff, indulged in sustained buying almost right through the session.
Expectations that the government will speed up reforms despite protests from opposition parties (in fact, the deadlock in the Lok Sabha ended today following the Speaker allowing a debate in the Lower House on FDI in mult-brand retail), a stable rating for the country's sovereign credit by Moody's, the upward revision in rating for Indian stocks by Goldman Sach and data showing some heavy buying by foreign institutional investors on Wednesday, all helped lift sentiment to a significant extent today.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which opened modestly higher at 18,873.63, rose to a high of 19,205.33 in the final hour and eventually ended the day with a handsome gain of 328.83 points or 1.75% at 19,170.91.
The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange closed at 5825, slightly off the day's high of 5833.50, gaining 97.55 points or 1.7% for the day.
Shares from FMCG, metal, consumer durables, oil and healthcare sectors too mostly closed on a bright note. Power stocks ended mixed, while information technology stocks were quite subdued.
While several stocks from the midcap space moved up smartly, buying was a bit stock specific in the smallcap segment. The BSE Midcap index surged 1.4%, while the Smallcap barometer ended 0.5% up.
Bajaj Auto ended higher by a little over 5%. Tata Motors moved up 4.5% and ICICI Bank gained 4.6%. Cipla, Sterlite Industries, HDFC, HDFC Bank, Larsen & Toubro and Tata Power moved up by 2.4% - 3.6%.
Wipro, Coal India, GAIL India, ONGC, ITC, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, Reliance Industries, NTPC, Hindustan Unilever, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, State Bank of India and Bharti Airtel also ended with strong gains.
Asian Paints, Sesa Goa, Kotak Bank, BPCL, IDFC, Grasim Industries, Punjab National Bank and Bank of Baroda gained 2% - 4.5%.
DLF ended notably higher on reports the company is close to selling its international hotel chain, Aman Resorts, to a US-based investment company for $325 million (Rs 1,800 crore). A company spokesperson said the company will not comment on market speculation.
Jaiprakash Associates, Ranbaxy Laboratories, Ultratech Cement, Reliance Infrastructure and Axis Bank also posted smart gains.
Infosys, Maruti Suzuki, Hero Motocorp, BHEL, HCL Technologies, Siemens and Power Grid Corporation ended on a weak note.
Escorts Limited shares rose sharply on impressive quarterly results. Fortis Healthcare, GMR Infrastructure, Unichem Laboratories, Lanco Infratech and Suzlon Energy rose sharply on stock specific stories.
Apollo Hospitals Enterprises shares plunged more than 8% on reports Hong Kong based brokerage CLSA is selling its stake in the company. The stock ended lower amid a huge volume of over 10 million shares.
Karnataka Bank extended recent gains, and ended stronger by over 5% after the bank said that it is targeting to disburse Rs 1,000 crore in agricultural sector during 2012-13. “The bank has introduced the revised guidelines of Reserve Bank of India on the Kisan Credit Card scheme, which will help large sections of farmers across the country,” Karnataka Bank said in a filing. On the National Stock Exchange, over 21 million shares were traded at the Karnataka Bank counter today.
The market breadth was positive. Out of 3064 stocks traded on BSE, 1681 stocks moved up. 1264 stocks declined and 119 stocks ended flat.