Sensex up 74 pts on hopes of liquidity easing

Mumbai: The BSE Sensex gained 74 points to close at over a week`s high of 17,478.15 as investors picked up stocks on the first day of the new fiscal despite HSBC India survey showing a slowdown in manufacturing growth. Consumer durables, power, capital goods, realty and banking stocks made gains amid hopes of greater liquidity in the system in the coming days and a possible rate cut by the Reserve Bank at its monetary review later this month.

Although global markets showed a mixed trend, European equities were trading higher in early trade. L&T, TCS, HDFC Bank, HDFC, SBI, NTPC, M&M, Bharti Airtel, ICICI Bank and ONGC made gains. However, top two Sensex players, RIL and Infosys, made losses and restricted gains. The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share barometer resumed higher at 17,429.96 and reached 17,529.98. But it closed at 17,478.15, up 73.95 points or 0.42 per cent. On Friday, it had spurt 345.59 points or 2.03 per cent.

The NSE 50-issue index Nifty also improved further by 22.35 points or 0.42 per cent to above 5,300-mark at 5,317.90. Meanwhile, India`s manufacturing sector witnessed the third consecutive month of decline in March as output and new order growth weakened amid power cuts leading to capacity constraints, an HSBC survey said.

The HSBC India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers` Index (PMI) – a measure of factory production – stood at 54.7 in March, down from 56.6 in February. In January, the PMI stood at 57.5. A reading above 50 shows that the sector is growing, while a reading below 50 means the segment is contracting.

"Economic worries led markets to trade in negative for a while but recovery was seen during the afternoon trade as European markets opened in the positive zone," said Shanu Goel, Research Analyst at Bonanza Portfolio.