Sensex climbs 174 points; best weekly gain since May
Market barometer Sensex rallied for the fourth day to end at a 3-month high of 27,882 as February derivatives series got off to a strong start ahead of Budget next week, recording best weekly gains since May last year.
Financial stocks led by ICICI Bank, SBI, Axis Bank and HDFC Bank hogged the limelight on the back of better-than-expected earnings by most so far, which rose by up to 4.74%, lifting the BSE bank index by 1.50%.
Tracking positive Asian cues and building-up of bets following the beginning of the February derivatives series, the 30-stock index opened positive and rallied to hit the session's high of 27,980.39.
However, profit-booking towards the fag-end trimmed gains partially as the gauge settled up 174.32 points, or 0.63%, at 27,882.46, a level last seen on October 30 last year when it had closed at 27,930.21.
The index had rallied 673.64 points in the past three sessions on the back of strong earnings amid positive global cues.
The NSE Nifty after hitting a high of 8,672.70 intra-day closed at 8,641.25, up 38.50 points, or 0.45%. It touched a low of 8,606.90.
For the week, the Sensex recorded 847.96 points, or 3.13%, while Nifty zoomed 291.90 points, or 3.49%, their best weekly gains since May 27 last year when they registered a rise of 1,351.70 points, or 5.31%, and 406.95 points or 5.25%, respectively.
Market started the February series on a strong footing led by positive global cues following another record closing in the US. Further, widening of bets on hopes of a series of market and corporate friendly measures from the Budget for 2017-18 to revive an economy hit by the cash ban in November last year helped.
Other prominent gainers among Sensex constituents included Bharti Airtel, NTPC, Maruti Suzuki, PowerGrid, RIL, Infosys, Sun Pharma, M&M, Coal India, ONGC, TCS and Tata Steel, rising by up to 3.82%.
GAIL spurted 1.36% after the company approved issuance of one bonus share for every three held and an interim dividend of 85%. Intra-day, it touched 52-week high of Rs 493.80.
Meanwhile, the foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 1,378.81 crore on Wednesday, as per provisional data released by the stock exchanges.
A firming trend at other Asian markets led by Japan after the Dow on Thursday extended its gains a day after breaking 20,000 for the first time boosted sentiment.
Stock exchanges were closed yesterday for the Republic Day.
Globally, Japan's Nikkei rose while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index settled down. China's Shanghai market remained closed today on account of a public holiday.
European indices were also trading somewhat mixed in their early deals.
The BSE mid-cap rose 0.64% and small-cap 0.53%.
However, Wipro fell by 1.55% after the company posted a 5.8% drop in consolidated net profit for the December quarter. ITC fell 2.78% even as the company today reported a 5.71% increase in standalone net profit.
Among BSE sectoral and industry indices, power rose by 2.10%, followed by consumer durables.