The rupee's smart recovery following the central bank's decision to open special window to provide dollars to oil marketing firms set up a buoyant start for the Indian stock market on Thursday. A firm trend in Asian markets amid easing worries about any U.S. military action against Syria, and hopes that the U.S. Federal Reserve may delay scaling down its stimulus program aided the surge as well.
Though the rupee, which recovered to 66.85 from its all-time low of 68.85, gave up some early gains against the greenback, the market managed to hold on to a substantial portion of its gains till the end thanks to hectic short-covering ahead of near month derivatives expiry.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which spurted to 18,455.66, ended the day with a gain of 404.89 points or 2.25%. The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange closed up 124.05 points or 2.35% at 5409.05, slightly off the day's high of 5428.90.
Oil stocks started off on a high note. However, BPCL and HPCL gave up early gains, while Indian Oil Corporation closed stronger by 1.5%. ONGC ended nearly 2% up an GAIL India closed higher by a little over 2%. Private sector oil major Reliance Industries surged 4.3%, contributing significantly to the gains of the key indices.
Among metal stocks, Sesa Goa, which replaced Sterlite Industries in the Sensex following the scheme of amalgamation between the two Vedanta group firms whereby Sterlite Industries (India) was merged with it, extended recent gains and ended stronger by nearly 14%.
Among the stocks in the capital goods space, Larsen & Toubro and BHEL gained 2.5% and 2.9%, respectively. AIA Engineering spurted 7.3%, FAG Bearings shot up by 6.6% and Crompton Greaves rallied 5.7%. Bharat Electronics, Havells India, Jindal Saw, Suzlon Energy and Welcorp also ended sharply higher.
Among the stocks in the Bankex, Axis Bank, Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, IndusInd Bank and Yes Bank gained 1% - 3%. Federal Bank and Kotak Bank moved up by over 5%, while State Bank of India ended with a modest loss.
Pharma stocks Aurobindo Pharma, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, Lupin, Piramal Enterprises, Strides Arcolab, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries and Wockhardt ended notably higher. Cipla and Ranbaxy Laboratories declined marginally.
The market breadth was positive. Out of 2402 stocks traded on BSE, 1274 stocks moved up. 990 stocks declined and 138 stocks ended flat.