The markets on Friday continued to scale new highs, as foreign investors pumped in dollars amid the improved sentiment surrounding the new government. Since the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance government took charge at the Centre on May 26, the markets have gained about three per cent, while foreign investors have pumped in about Rs 6,600 crore ($1.2 billion) into Indian stocks.
The positive momentum in the secondary market and the availability of foreign capital has helped India Inc tap the market to raise capital.
On Friday, the Sensex gained about 377 points, or 1.5 per cent, to close at a new all-time high of 25,396.46, while the broader Nifty gained 109.3 points, or 1.46 per cent, to record a new high of 7,583.4. During intra-day trade, the Sensex and the Nifty recorded new intra-day highs of 25,419.14 and 7,592.7, respectively.
The latest boost to markets was from oil and gas stocks such as index heavyweights Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), which surged on hopes the prime minister would raise natural gas prices. While ONGC gained 11 per cent, RIL rose three per cent and GAIL about eight per cent. The three stocks were among the top gainers in the Sensex, contributing to the bulk of the gains.
After correcting about two per cent last week, the benchmark indices have added about five per cent this week.
The year-to-date inflow of foreign institutional investment stands at about $8.5 billion. "Investors had wanted a clear mandate at the Centre. Markets have been running up on the back of a stable government at the Centre, as well as improving global factors," said Nirmal Jain, chairman, IIFL.
"This is just the beginning of the bull phase. There will be some correction on the way but overall, the markets will do well," said Deven Choksey, managing director, KR Choksey Securities.
Investors are hoping the new government will take steps to turn around the economy and revive investment. "The government just needs to de-bottleneck and create a favourable environment. If the economy is able to grow 6.5 per cent, it will have tremendous multiplier effect," Choksey said.
In the past two weeks, the Street has seen some big-ticket capital-raising. Telecom company Idea successfully completed its Rs 3,000-crore equity placement; YES Bank, too, raised a similar amount. Promoters of Kotak Mahindra Bank pared their holdings worth Rs 2,200 crore to a Canadian pension fund.
"The momentum has just started. We will see more and more companies raise capital," said Choksey.
Among the other major gainers on Friday were banking and financial services stocks. Housing Development Finance Corporation rose 2.9 per cent, State Bank of India gained 1.6 per and Kotak Mahindra Bank recorded 3.9 per cent gains.
Experts said these stocks would continue to do well due to the easing global liquidity. On Thursday, the European Central Bank took interest rates to negative territory to help spur economic growth.
"This kind of optimism is positive for the market. The rally is justified and could continue, as valuations are still not expensive," said Gautam Chhaochharia, head of research (India), UBS.