Thanks to hectic buying in the final hour, due largely on short-covering ahead of near month F&O expiry, the market rebounded into positive zone and ended the session with solid gains on Thursday.
It was a weak start for stocks this morning, with investors mostly pressing sales, tracking weak global cues. Wall Street ended lower overnight amid renewed worries about eurozone debt crisis, and most of the markets in the Asian region too traded weak, before regaining some lost ground. European markets started off on a subdued note.
Though there were no positive triggers, the market bounced back in the final hour, with traders indulging in some frenzied buying at several large, medium and smallcap counters.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which declined to 18,568.43 after a weak start, spurted to 18,882.54 in late afternoon trades, and finally ended the session at 18,835.77, gaining 131.24 points or 0.7%. The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange closed with a gain of 40.95 points or 0.73% at 5682.55, well off the day's low of 5604.85.
Metal stocks turned in a fine performance. Capital goods, consumer durables, PSu and bank stocks too mostly ended on a high note. Information technology, realty and power stocks saw some strong buying in afternoon trades.
Healthcare stocks opened on a firm note and mostly held their gains. Oil and FMCG stocks edged higher once the mood turned a bit positive. Automobile stocks declined sharply early on in the session, but regained most of the lost ground in the final hour. Midcap and smallcap stocks found support after recent weak spells.
GAIL India ended stronger by over 5%. Hindalco moved up by nearly 4%. ONGC, Sterlite Industries, HDFC Bank and Coal India gained 2.6% - 3%. ICICI Bank, Larsen & Toubro, Tata Steel and Tata Power advanced by 1.7% - 2.5%.
Infosys gained around 1.3%. State Bank of India, ITC, Tata Consultancy Services and Dr Reddy's Laboratories also ended notably higher.
Siemens, up 4.3%, was the top gainer in the Nifty index. HCL Technologies, Ambuja Cements, Sesa Goa, IDFC, Kotak Bank, Jaiprakash Associates, Ultratech Cement, Bank of Baroda and Punjab National Bank gained 1% - 3.2%. Axis Bank and Power Grid Corporation also closed on a firm note.
Tata Motors, Hero Motocorp, Maruti Suzuki and Bajaj Auto lost 1.3% - 2.3%. Bharti Airtel ended lower by 1.6%. Cairn India, Hindustan Unilever, Jindal Steel & Power, Reliance Industries, NTPC, Ranbaxy Laboratories and Grasim Industries lost 0.5% - 1.3%.
Novartis moved up sharply following an announcement from the company that its promoter Novartis AG is planning to reduce its stake in the company to meet the miniumum public shareholding requirement.
Aurobindo Pharma, Gitanjali Gems, IndusInd Bank and NMDC also saw some brisk buying on stock specific news.
The market breadth was positive. Out of 2898 stocks traded on BSE, 1625 stocks moved up. 1149 stocks declined and 124 stocks ended flat.