Shrugging off a surge in headline inflation, the market kept moving higher today after opening on a buoyant note and eventually ended the day with strong gains. The upbeat mood was due largely to a third round of quantitative easing announced by the U.S. Federal Reserve on Thursday.
A steep hike in diesel prices which is expected to help cut the widening fiscal deficit to some extent too contributed significantly to the market's sparkling display. Hopes of a rate cut announcement from the central bank played a role as well in lifting the market.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which opened with a positive gap of over 260 points at 18,284.75, spurted to 18,498.54 and finally ended the day with a gain of 443.11 points or 2.46% at 18,464.27.
The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange settled at 5577.65, slighlty off the day's high of 5586.65, recording a gain of 142.30 points or 2.62%. Both Sensex and Nifty extended their gains to an eighth successive session, hitting their 7-month highs in the process.
According to the data released by the government today, India's wholesale price index was up by a higher than expected 7.55% in August 2012 from a year earlier, due largely to higher food prices on the back of deficient monsoon. This compares with provisional figure of 6.87% for July and 9.78% during the corresponding month of the previous year. The government revised upwards June inflation to 7.58% from 7.25%.
Banking sector heavyweights State Bank of India (5.6%), ICICI Bank (5%) and HDFC Bank (2.4%) closed on a high note. Several other bank stocks, including Axis Bank, Kotak Bank, Punjab National Bank, Yes Bank and Bank of Baroda, too ended with impressive gains.
Reliance Industries surged 5.4%. Larsen & Toubro gained nearly 5% and BHEL ended almost 2% up. Infosys closed higher by 3.2%. Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Power, HDFC and Hero Motocorp gained 2% - 3%. Bajaj Auto and GAIL India also closed notably higher.
Metal stocks had a smart ride up the charts. Shares of rate sensitive banking, realty and automobile sectors had a good outing as well. Capital goods mostly ended with handsome gains. Oil, information technology and PSU stocks too moved up smartly. Consumer durables stocks failed to sustain at higher levels, while FMCG and healthcare stocks mostly ended lower.
On BSE, out of 3058 stocks traded, 1497 stocks moved up. 1420 stocks declined and 141 stocks ended flat.