Sensex at 2-week high, up 226 pts

Mumbai: The BSE Sensex gained 226 points today to reach 2-week high of 17,813.62 on all-round buying by FIIs on improved growth and earnings prospects this quarter and firm stock markets globally. Higher industrial production during January, as per data released yesterday, coupled with the Reserve Bank`s move to infuse Rs 48,000 crore to ease liquidity by cutting cash reserve ratio (CRR) of banks, kept investor sentiment high.

The RBI move was partly aimed at ensuring smooth payment of advance corporate tax, with reports indicating that payouts may be better this time, suggesting improved fourth quarter earnings, analysts said. They also said that there were short coverings ahead of RBI monetary policy on Thursday and the Union Budget, 2012-13 on Friday. The BSE 30-scrip index, Sensex, opened higher and shot up further to 17,842.92 before closing at 17,813.62 — 225.95 points or 1.28 per cent from yesterday. It had gained 442 points in the last two sessions.

Global stock markets too provided the required boost on signs of easing debt troubles in Greece. Key indices in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan gained up to 1.31 per cent. In Europe, markets in the UK, Germany and France were up by up to 0.86 per cent. "Strong rally in the global markets and better-than- expected factory output growth in January helped lift the market. There was some short-covering with just few days left in the Budget," said Rikesh Parikh, Vice President, Equities Motilal Oswal Securities. "Markets are likely to be highly volatile next three days, with Railway Budget, RBI policy and the Budget," said Shanu Goel, Research Analyst at Bonanza Portfolio.

The NSE 50-scrip index Nifty shot up 69.95 points or 1.31 per per cent to 5,429.50. Reliance Industries, Infosys, ONGC, Tata Steel and banking stocks lifted the buying sentiment. Of the 30 Sensex scrips, 25 closed with gains. All the 13 sectoral indices gained up to 3 per cent.

RIL shot up 2.72 per cent, while Infosys gained 1.51 per cent. Other major gainers were Sterlite (5.06 pc), Gail India (4.50 pc), Jindal Steel (3.80 pc), ONGC (3.42 pc), Hindalco (2.65 pc), Tata Steel (2.45 pc), Maruti Suzuki (2.27 pc), BHEL (2.18 pc), Hero Motoco (1.81 pc), Coal India (1.80 pc), Cipla (1.62 pc), DLF (1.61 pc), HDFC (1.53 pc) and Sun Pharma (1.28 pc). However, Wipro declined 1.29 per cent, and M&M 1 pc. Among the major indices, BSE-Metal shot up 3.01 pc, followed by Oil&Gas – 2.60 pc, Realty – 2.11 pc, Power – 1.52 pc, Capital Goods – 1.51 pc, PSU – 1.27 pc and FMCG – 1.05 pc.

Small-cap and Mid-cap indices also settled higher — 1.03 pc and 1.21 pc on buying support from retail investors. The market breadth remained positive, as 1,712 scrips ended with gains while 1,215 finished with losses. The total turnover dropped to Rs 2,926.04 crore from the yesterday`s closing level of Rs 3,253.78 crore.