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%.
Hindalco, Hindustan Zinc, Jindal Steel & Power, JSW Steel and NMDC gained 2% - 7%, while Tata Steel and SAIL closed weak.
FMCG heavyweights Hindustan Unilever and ITC gained 2.3% and 2.7%, respectively. Dabur India, Godrej Consumer Products, United Spirits and Tata Global Beverages also ended on a strong note.
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.
CESC, JSW Energy, NTPC, Power Grid Corporation, NHPC and Reliance Infrastructure were among the prominent gainers in the power index.
Automobile stocks Hero Motocorp, Mahindra & Mahindra, Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors gained 1.4% - 2.6%. Bajaj Auto moved up by 0.7%.
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.
In the IT space, HCL Technologies, Tata Consultancy Services and Mphasis closed on a high note, and Wipro surged 0.7%, while Tech Mahindra and Infosys ened with marginal losses.
Among the stocks in the Realty index, HDIL, Indiabulls Real Estate, Prestige Estates, Sobha Developers and Unitech moved higher, while DLF and DB Realty closed on a weak note.
The market breadth was positive. Out of 2402 stocks traded on BSE, 1274 stocks moved up. 990 stocks declined and 138 stocks ended flat.