Sensex, Nifty hit fresh closing highs as investor sentiment improves


gsr-847Mumbai: The S&P BSE Sensex gained for a fourth straight session to hit fresh high on Friday, crossing 21,960, with the Nifty crossing 6,500 for the first time.

The 30-share benchmark S&P BSE Sensex gained as much as 2.08%, or 447.02 points, to 21,960.89 points in Friday trade, while the National Stock Exchange’s broader 50-share Nifty rose 2.13%, or 136.65 points, to 6,537.8 points.

The Sensex closed 1.89%, or 405.92 points, higher at 21,919.79 points, while the Nifty gained 1.96%, or 125.50 points to 6,526.65 points.

The Sensex has risen 973.14 points, or 4.65%, in the past four trading sessions from a recent low of 20,946.65 on 3 March, while the Nifty jumped 305.2 points, or 4.91%. So far this year, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have bought $807.8 million from local equity markets.

Banking, realty stocks rally

Banking and realty stocks rallied, as they caught up with the rally in the broader market on continued optimism that the general elections next month will lead to a stable government at the Centre.

Earlier in the day, BSE Bankex rose as much as 5.91%, while the realty index climbed as much as 6.07%.

The BSE Healthcare index fell 2.02%, the most among sectoral indices.

“Banking stocks had been relatively under-owned, and so that pack seems to be catching up with the sharp rally in the broader market,” said Rikesh Parikh, vice-president (equities), Motilal Oswal Securities Ltd.

All 12 components of BSE Bankex were trading higher, while only one of 13 components of BSE Realty index was trading lower.

Top private lender ICICI Bank Ltd and rival HDFC Bank Ltd added 5.97% and 5.31%, respectively, while smaller peer Axis Bank Ltd gained 5.92%. Largest lender State Bank of India was up 4.60%.

Top real estate developer DLF Ltd soared 9.87%, while rivals Unitech Ltdand Oberoi Realty Ltd climbed 1.85% and 0.76%, respectively.

Improving sentiment

Sentiment in the markets has been positive in the recent past due to improvement in deficit numbers. India’s current account deficit narrowed to $4.2 billion in the October-December quarter compared with $5.2 billion in the previous quarter, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said in a statement in Mumbai on Wednesday. The shortfall was equivalent to 0.9% of gross domestic product (GDP).

Overnight, Wall Street inched further into record territory as equity bulls remained largely unfazed by developments in Ukraine and attention turned to the forthcoming US non-farm payrolls report. The S&P 500 gained 0.2%, Nasdaq Composite ended flat and Dow Jones Industrial was up 0.4%.