Sensex crosses 17K-mark, up 244 pts at 10-week high

Mumbai: The BSE Sensex crossed the 17k mark to 10-week high as RBI cut cash reserve ratio (CRR) to infuse liquidity in the system before easing a little to close at 16,995.77 – up 244 points or 1.46 per cent.

The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share barometer opened with gains and remained in the positive terrain through the day. It touched intra-day high of 17,050.32, the level not seen since November 15.

The 50-issue National Stock Exchange index Nifty, meanwhile, regained the 5,100 level, adding 81.10 points, and closed at 5,127.35. The gain was on account of the Reserve Bank lowering the CRR – the amount of deposits the banks are required to keep with RBI in cash – by half a percentage point. The move will inject Rs 32,000 crore in the financial system and signals that lending rates may be cut in the coming months.

"The CRR cut by RBI was perceived by the market as the policy shift from inflation fighting to reviving growth. Positives from the RBI policy decision appear to be factored in and investors should increasingly track crude oil and dollar movements from here on," said Milan Bavishi, Research Head at Inventure Growth & Securities.

RBI kept the short-term lending rate unchanged – a move that was broadly discounted by the market. However, the central bank cut 2011-12 GDP growth estimate to 7 per cent, from 7.6 per cent projected earlier. It expects inflation to be at 7 per cent in March.

All the 13 sectoral indices closed with gains of up to 3.30 per cent. Capital goods, banking, metal, auto and realty led the gains. In Asia, Japanese and Indonesian markets ended in the green, while others remained closed. In Europe key indices in France, Germany and Britain were down in the afternoon.

FIIs, which have bought Indian equities worth over USD 1 billion so far this month, sold shares worth Rs 58.80 crore yesterday as per provisional data as per stock exchanges. Of the 30-share Sensex pack, 22 scrips ended with gains while others declined.

Major gainers were L&T (5.64 pc), SBI (5.19 pc), Hindalco (4.55 pc), M&M (3.56 pc), ICICI (3.30 pc), Sterlite (3.11 pc), Tata Power (2.53 pc), Jindal Steel (2.26 pc), RIL (1.58 pc), Tata Motors (1.44 pc), Tata Steel (1.28 pc), Cipla (1.13 pc) and Hero Motocorop (1.05 pc). CIL fell 1.35 pc and Sun Pharma was down 1.29 pc.

Among the sectoral indices, the BSE-Capital Goods rose 3.30 pc, followed by Bankex – 3.21 pc, Metals – 1.78 pc, Auto – 1.53 pc, Realty – 1.14 pc, Teck – 1.06 pc, Oil&Gas – 1.03 pc and PSU – 1.01 pc.

The total market breadth at BSE was positive as 1,592 stocks ended in the green, while 1,206 stocks finished with losses. The total turnover shot up Rs 4,673.08 crore from Rs 2,159.90 crore on Monday.