Sensex rises ahead of winter session of Parliament

Last Updated: Thu, Nov 22, 2012 03:37 hrs

The BSE Sensex posted its biggest daily percentage gain in almost three weeks on Wednesday, as private sector banks such as ICICI Bank rose on value-buying, while a weaker rupee bolstered software services exporters such as Infosys.

Investors seem to be pinning their hopes on the government being able to gain some traction on bills to liberalise the insurance, pension and banking sectors during the winter session of parliament which begins tomorrow.

“Going into the winter session, except the retail sector where there is a question mark, people are quite bullish on the market and a rally in December is expected,” said Hitash Dang, vice president at Jaypee Capital.

Foreign portfolio flows continue to remain strong for the near term, added Dang.

However, the government, reduced to a minority for the first time since coming to power in 2004, is scrambling for support and its chances of success look bleak.

The benchmark Sensex rose 0.72 per cent, or 131.06 points, to end at 18,460.38.

The broader Nifty rose 0.78 per cent, or 43.25 points, to end at 5614.80, closing above the psychologically important 5,600 level.

Private banks such as ICICI Bank Ltd gained two per cent after falling 2.5 per cent in November as of yesterday’s close, while HDFC Bank Ltd ended 1.5 per cent higher.

Shares in software services exporters rose, tracking the weakening rupee, which has fallen 2.4 per cent against the dollar this month as yesterday’s close.

Tata Consultancy Services gained 0.7 per cent, while Infosys Ltd was up 1.1 per cent.

Retail stocks rose on hopes that the FDI issue would be taken up in the winter session of parliament.

Pantaloon Retail India Ltd rose 4.7 per cent, while Shoppers Stop Ltd gained 2.3 per cent.

Cipla Ltd shares rose 2.5 per cent after the company offered to buy an about 51 per cent stake in South Africa’s Cipla Medpro, to strengthen its position in the fast-growing African drugs market.

A spokeswoman for Blackstone declined to comment on the report, calling it ‘a pure speculation story.’ A UB Group spokesman also declined comment.

Speculation over a potential cut in fuel taxes also helped Jet Airways gain 9.1 per cent for the day.

However among stocks that fell, Honeywell Automation India shares closed at the maximum daily fall limit of 20 per cent after Honeywell Asia Pacific said it plans to cut its stake in the domestic unit.

Honeywell Asia Pacific plans to sell shares in its Indian unit to meet market regulator requirements mandating listed companies must have at least 25 percent public shareholding by next year.

Shares in Indian software and back office provider MphasiS Ltd fell 0.9 per cent after majority owner Hewlett-Packard Co took a $8.8 billion writedown after alleging a massive accounting scandal at its British software unit Autonomy.

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