The market, which edged higher after a mild retreat earlier in the day, remains fairly well placed in positive territory in early afternoon trade with several front line stocks trading firm on sustained buying interest.
The Sensex, which rose to 20,941, is currently up 133.60 points or 0.65% at 20,925.53. The Nifty is up 45.80 points or 0.74% at 6221.90 after surging to 6228.70.
Healthcare, bank and capital goods continue to trade firm. Realty, metal and power stocks are also mostly trading higher. Select stocks from automobile and information technology sectors are up as well.
On the economic front, India's manufacturing sector activity witnessed an expansion in November for the first time since July, driven by rising new domestic orders, a survey by HSBC revealed. The HSBC India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index for the manufacturing industry climbed from 49.6 in October to 51.3 in November on the back of a rebound in new orders and output. This was the first manufacturing PMI reading above 50.0 since July and is the highest in seven months.
Shares of PSU oil & gas exploration major ONGC are down more than 3% on heavy selling at thec counter on the back of reports that the Gujarat high court has directed the company to pay royalty dues worth over Rs 10,000 crore to the state government. As per the Schedule of the Oilfields (Regulation and Development) Act, 1948, ONGC is bound to pay to the state government 20% royalty of the market value of crude oil it extracts from oil blocks. Gujarat has 66 such blocks.
Larsen & Toubro is up 2.3% at Rs 1069 following an announcement from the company that it is evaluating alternatives for monetization of certain assets of L&T Infrastructure Development Project, a subsidiary of the company. It includes a potential initial public offering and listing in Singapore of selected road assets of L&T IDPL through a business trust in Singapore.
Tata Motors has reported a 38.55% drop in total vehicles sales in November 2003 from the year ago period. The company's domestic sales of Tata commercial and passenger vehicles for November 2013 stood at 37,192 units.
Sales of commercial vehicles in November 2013 in the domestic market were 26,816 units. The company sold 19,993 light commercial vehicles in the month, medium and heavy commecial vehicles sales stood at 6,823 units.
The company sold 10,376 passenger vehicles in November 2013. Cumulative sales of passenger vehicles were 94,276 numbers for the year. The company exported 3,671 vehicles in November 2013. Tata Motors shares are up marginally at Rs 400 at present.