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Sensex gains 119 pts to 2-week high

Mumbai: The BSE Sensex extended gains for the third day in a row on Tuesday to reach 2-week high of 17,597.42, up 119 points, as investors picked up stocks ahead of the fourth quarter corporate earnings, amid hopes that RBI may cut rates later this month. Consumer durables, capital goods, refinery, metals, banking and PSUs attracted good buying. Heavyweights such as RIL, ICICI Bank, L&T, SBI, HDFC, Tata Motors, ONGC and Hindalco, contributed substantially to the gains.

The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share index opened higher and touched 17,664.10, before closing at 17,597.42, up 119.27 points or 0.68 per cent. Similarly, the NSE 50-issue index Nifty rose by 40.60 points or 0.76 per cent to 5,358.50. Brokers said interest rate-sensitive stocks, banking and realty, rose on hopes that the Reserve Bank will start cutting interest rates possibly from this month`s monetary policy to push growth. RBI will announce the annual credit policy on April 17.

The long trading, four-day holiday starting Thursday as well as corporate fourth quarter results and RBI credit policy later this month have kept markets in a narrow band, said Rikesh Parikh, VP Equities, Motilal Oswal Securities. "Strong global cues, mainly encouraging manufacturing data from the US and strengthening rupee against the US dollar, led to continuation in the upward momentum of the Sensex," said Milan Bavishi, Head Research, Inventure Growth and Securities.

Asian markets were mixed ahead of trading holidays across the region this week. Key indices in Hong Kong and South Korea closed with gains while those in Japan, Singapore and Taiwan ended with small losses. European stocks too were trading narrowly mixed in the afternoon deals. Meanwhile, back home, second line stocks continued to outperform the Sensex for the fourth day in a row as the Smallcap and Midcap indices gained 1.14 per cent and 0.95 per cent respectively.

Of the 30 Sensex scrips, 21 finished with gains. Hindalco gained 3.25 per cent, followed by Sterlite (2.87 pc), SBI (1.95 pc), L&T (1.93 pc), ICICI Bank (1.87 pc), RIL (1.57 pc), BHEL (1.50 pc), Gail India (1.34 pc), Tata Motors (1.34 pc), Tata Power (1.30 pc), Tata Steel (1.29 pc) and ONGC (1.15 pc). However, Hero MotoCorp dropped by 2.25 pc, Maruti Suzuki – 2.12 pc, Sun Pharma – 1.04 pc, TCS – 1.04 pc and Bharti Airtel – 0.96 pc.

Among the sectoral indices, the BSE-Consumer Durables remained the top gainer with a rise of 2.14 pc, followed by Capital Goods (1.65 pc), Oil & Gas (1.56 pc), Metal (1.38 pc), Bankex (1.22 pc), PSU (1.21 pc) and Realty (0.95 pc). The total market breadth remained positive as 1,796 stocks ended in the green, while 1,023 finished in the red. The total turnover was relatively up at Rs 2,238.97 crore from Rs 2,049.98 crore on Monday.

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