After a negative start and a subsequent weak spell that lasted close to four hours, the market edged up into the positive zone today with investors stepping up buying amid hopes the central bank will announce a rate cut on Tuesday.
The Sensex, which rallied to 17,159.30 from the day's low of 17,010, is currently at 17,132, up 37.49 points or 0.2% over its previous closing mark. The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange is up 8 points or 0.17% at 5215.45, off the day's high of 5229.40.
A marginal decline in inflation has raised expectations of some monetary easing by the central bank which will unveil its policy on Tuesday. According to the data released by the government today, the overall inflation in March eased to 6.89% on account of sharp decline in prices of onions, fruits and protein-based items, even as vegetables and pulses turned costlier.
Inflation, as measured by the Wholesale Price Index, was 6.95% in February. In March 2011, it was 9.68%. As per the official data released today, inflation in food items was 9.94% in March, as against 6.07% in February.
The government revised upward the headline inflation number for January to 6.89%, up from the provisional estimate of 6.55%. Inflation in overall primary articles rose sharply to 9.62% in March, from 6.28% in February.
Realty, capital goods and bank stocks are among the prominent gainers. Automobile and FMCG stocks are also finding good support this afternoon. A few stocks from metal, consumer durables, PSU and healthcare sectots have posted smart gains. Power, oil, information technology and telecom stocks are trading mixed.
ITC, State Bank of India, Larsen & Toubro, Maruti Suzuki, Wipro, Tata Motors, DLF, ICICI Bank, Jindal Steel, BHEL and Bajaj Auto are up 1% - 2%. Hero Motocorp, Tata Steel and GAIL India are also trading notably higher.
Telecom stock Bharti Airtel, down 1.4%, is the most prominent loser among the Sensex components. Infosys is down 1.2% with rating downgrades by some top brokerages hurting sentiment. Mahindra & Mahindra, Hindalco, Sun Pharmaceuticals, NTPC, HDFC Bank and ONGC are also trading weak.
Gujarat State Petronet and Astrazenca Pharma are down by over 3%. Cadila Healthcare, Nestle India, Ambuja Cements, Idea Cellular, Union Bank of India, ACC, Welcorp, Ultratech Cement, L&T Finance Holdings and Wockhardt are also down with notable losses.
Aurobindo Pharma has jumped nearly 8% on strong buying at the counter. HDIL has notched up a gain of 3.3%. Dabur India, MOIL, IndusInd Bank, Fortis Healthcare, Syndicate Bank, Hexaware Technologies, Axis Bank, JSW Steel, Uco Bank, Havells India, Central Bank of India and Manappuram Finance are up 2% - 3%.
McNally Bharat Engineering has received Rs 298 crore order from The West Bengal Power Development Corporation for turnkey package of Sagardighi Thermal Power Extension Project. The stock is up 2.3% at Rs 99.65 at present.
Piramal Healthcare has agreed to buy a research and development portfolio from Bayer AG in a deal that gives the company rights to Florbetaben, a possible Alzheimer treatment. The stock is trading flat at Rs 450.