Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

Mumbai: Equity benchmark Sensex climbed 154 points to end at a fresh all-time high on Monday, tracking gains in ICICI Bank, L&T and Kotak Bank amid persistent foreign fund inflows and a largely positive trend in global markets.

After touching its record intra-day peak of 46,373.34 during the day, the 30-share BSE index ended 154.45 points or 0.34 per cent higher at 46,253.46.

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty rose 44.30 points or 0.33 per cent to close at a record 13,558.15. It hit a lifetime high of 13,597.50 during the session.

ONGC was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rallying around 5 per cent, followed by L&T, NTPC, ICICI Bank, Sun Pharma, HCL Tech, Titan and Kotak Bank.

On the other hand, M&M, Bajaj Auto, Tech Mahindra and Bajaj Finserv were among the laggards.

Domestic equities remained firm and witnessed fresh record highs mainly supported by continued rebound in PSU banks, said Binod Modi, Head-Strategy at Reliance Securities.

Barring auto, most of the sectoral indices traded in positive range, he said, adding that volatility index shot up sharply, indicating unease about current valuations of the market.

"PSU stocks remained in flavour as valuations comfort, favourable dividend yields and emerging clarity over efficient capital employment continued to attract investors," he stated.

Further, positive data flows along with persistent foreign fund flows have been quite supportive for the markets.

Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) remained net buyers in the capital markets as they purchased shares worth Rs 4,195.43 crore on Friday, according to provisional exchange data.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai and Tokyo ended on a positive note, while Hong Kong and Seoul were in the red.

Stock exchanges in Europe were trading with gains in early deals.

Meanwhile, global oil benchmark Brent crude futures rose 1 per cent to USD 50.47 per barrel.

Rupee Settles 9 Paise Higher At 73.55 Against US Dollar

The rupee advanced by 9 paise to settle at 73.55 (provisional) against the US dollar on Monday, buoyed by sustained foreign fund inflows and heavy buying in domestic equities.

Traders said upbeat industrial production data and weakening of the American currency in the overseas market also supported the rupee.

At the interbank forex market, the domestic unit opened at 73.62 against the US dollar, then gained ground and touched an intra-day high of 73.48 against the greenback. The local unit finally closed at 73.55 against the American currency, registering a rise of 9 paise over its previous close.

On Friday, the rupee ended almost flat at 73.64, up 2 paise, against the US dollar.

Meanwhile, the dollar index, which gauges the greenback's strength against a basket of six currencies, was trading down 0.45 per cent at 90.56.

"Indian rupee advanced on weakness in dollar and as market sentiments improve on hopes of global economic recovery buoyed by positive development in COVID-19 vaccine and ongoing efforts to pass more fiscal stimulus in the US," said Saif Mukadam, Research Analyst, Sharekhan by BNP Paribas.

However, sharp gains were prevented on surge in crude oil prices and as traders remained cautious ahead of CPI inflation data.

"India CPI data is likely to show that Inflation remained above the Reserve Bank of India medium term target range of 2-6 per cent. Rupee may trade in range of 73.00 to 74.0 in in next couple of sessions," Mukadam noted.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers in the capital market as they purchased shares worth Rs 4,195.43 crore on a net basis on Friday, according to exchange data.

On the domestic equity market front, the BSE Sensex ended 154.45 points or 0.34 per cent higher at 46,253.46, while the broader NSE Nifty jumped 44.30 points or 0.33 per cent to 13,558.15.

Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, rose 1.04 per cent to USD 50.49 per barrel.

(With PTI Inputs)