Sensex rises to highest close since July 2011

Last Updated: Mon, Oct 01, 2012 14:00 hrs

By Manoj Dharra

MUMBAI (Reuters) - The BSE Sensex and Nifty rose on Monday to their highest close since July 2011 as construction and other infrastructure-related stocks such as IVRCL rose on expectations the government would continue to promote projects in the sector.

Auto makers gained, as well, after posting studier-than-expected September sales, while software services exporters such as Infosys recovered from recent falls.

Data showing the current account deficit in the April-June quarter narrowed from a record in the previous quarter also boosted sentiment, especially as the report on Friday also showed a steep fall in gold imports.

Investors will now be on the lookout for additional action from the government, after a slew of reforms last month sparked a rally in stock markets.

India could consider amending controversial rules on tax avoidance for foreign investors in 20 days, the finance minister said on Monday, potentially ending months of uncertainty that had hurt confidence.

"Markets are positively poised in the near-term as sentiment in the market and corporates has suddenly improved. Incremental growth depends a lot on confidence, too," said Sandip Sabharwal, CEO of portfolio management services at Prabhudas Lilladher.

"Events that can create volatility would largely be from euro zone."

The BSE Sensex rose 0.33 percent, or 61.17 points, to end at 18,823.91, marking its highest close since July 25, 2011.

The 50-share Nifty gained 0.27 percent, or 15.50 points, to 5,718.80 points, marking its highest close since July 7, 2011.

Indian markets will be shut on Tuesday for a public holiday.

Infrastructure-related stocks gained after the finance minister said India will allow insurance companies to invest in projects, which may help meet big funding requirements in the sector.

The government this year has announced a number of measures, including road projects and cutting taxes on overseas borrowing, that should help the infrastructure sector.

Construction firms rose, with IVRCL up 4.4 percent and NCC Limited ending up rose 3.5 percent.

Cement makers continue to rally, with some stocks hitting record highs, helped as well by expectations for increased construction activity after the monsoon season ended on Sunday.

Ambuja Cements gained 3.7 percent, having hit a record at 211 r upees. Cement makers were expected to announce September shipments later on Monday.

Select auto stocks rose after posting sturdier September sales than expected. Maruti Suzuki rose 0.6 percent after saying volumes rose 9.8 percent, while TVS Motor gained 4.9 percent after sales fell less than expected.

Software services exporters recovered from recent falls: Infosys Ltd gained 3 percent after falling 2.5 percent over the previous four sessions

Steel Authority of India Ltd rose 0.8 percent after J.P. Morgan upgraded the stock to 'overweight' from 'neutral', citing near-term improvement in the Asian steel outlook and a decline in coking coal prices, among other factors.

However, shares in air conditioner maker Voltas fell for the third day, ending down 2.3 percent, on continued concerns about declining margins.

(Additional reporting by Abhishek Vishnoi; Editing by)

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