Sensex ends above 18K after 6-mths, up 354 pts

Mumbai: The BSE Sensex shot past the 18k mark Wednesday after a gap of over six months to 18,202.41, up 354 points on FII inflows and investor hopes that falling inflation will prompt RBI to ease tight money policy stance. Besides, equity markets across Asia and Europe were firm on hopes of a resolution to the Greek debt troubles. Strong third quarter earnings posted by the country`s largest auto firm Tata Motors bolstered investor sentiment.

Interest-sensitive stocks in the realty, banking and auto sectors attracted strong buying, helping markets make gains for the third day in a row. Capital goods, power and consumer durables supported the market. "The bulls were back on the Dalal Street. There was broad based buying in the market after a long time. Positive global cues, easing inflation, continued FIIs buying and short covering lifted the market," said Vikas Vardhan AVP Research Motilal Oswal Securities.

"Banking stocks continued their northbound journey on the hope of a cut in CRR by RBI," he added. In all, 12 of the 13 sectoral indices closed in the green and only BSE-Oil&Gas ended in the red following a dip in the top Sensex heavyweight, RIL, on reports that the KG-D6 gas fields may see gas output falling next fiscal. FIIs, which have been picking up Indian equities since the start of this year, bought shares worth Rs 1030.12 crore Tuesday as per provisional data with stock exchanges. They have pumped in Rs 20,890 crore (over USD 4 billion) till February 13 this year.

The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share Sensex opened at 18K-level and continued to gain through the day, closing at 6-1/2 month high of 18,202.41 — up 353.84 points or 1.98 per cent. It had ended at 18,314.33 on August 1. The NSE 50-scrip index Nifty regained the 5,500 mark by jumping 115.90 points, or 2.14 per cent to 5,531.95. Key indices in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan gained up to 2.30 per cent. In Europe, the CAC (France), DAX (Germany) and FTSE (UK) were up by up to a per cent.

Of the 30 Sensex stocks, 27 scrips finished with gains, while only three ended in the red. Tata Motors gained 6.91 per cent, DLF (6.05 pc), Tata Power (6 pc), L&T (5.06 pc), BHEL (4.53 pc), Sterlite (4.34 pc), ICICI (4.03 pc), Maruti Suzuki (3.04 pc), HDFC Bank (2.95 pc), Gail India (2.92 pc), M&M (2.57 pc), HDFC (2.45 pc), Infosys (2.39 pc), SBI (2.37 pc), Bharti Airtel (2.12 pc), TCS (1.75 pc), Jindal Steel (1.62 pc), Tata Steel (1.56 pc) , Coal India (1.45 pc) and ONGC (1.03 pc).

However, RIL dropped by 1.43 pc, followed by Cipla – 0.75 pct and HUL – 0.75 pc. Among sectoral indices, Realty shot up 5.01 pc, Capital Goods – 4.01 pc, Power – 3.56 pc, Bankex – 3.55 pc, Auto – 3.33 pc, Consumer Durables – 3.07 pc and Metals – 2.13 pc. Market breadth at the BSE was positive, with 1,896 stocks gaining ground, and 1,081 finishing with losses. The total turnover shot up further to Rs 4,139.38 crore from Rs 3,556.76 crore on Tuesday.