Benchmark Sensex landed in the positive zone for the fifth straight day by gaining 72 points to 26,726 -- a seven-month high—as March quarter earnings broadly stayed above expectations. A positive update about an above-normal monsoon this year, which is seen to rub off on the overall consumer demand, brightened economic prospects.
A steady stream of foreign fund inflows and a firm trend overseas kept sentiment alive, which made investors bolster their positions further.
Global cues too aligned as Asian markets rallied and Europe opened higher even as US Fed chief Janet Yellen on Friday said the central bank may raise rates “in coming months” as the economy picked up as expected and jobs continued to be generated.
In a choppy trade, the BSE Sensex opened higher, but profit-booking pulled it down. Finally, it settled at 26,725.60, a gain of 72 points, or 0.27 per cent—its highest closing since October 29 last year.
Last week, the Sensex rallied 1,352 points, or 5.31 per cent, and Nifty zoomed 407 points, or 5.25 per cent— their biggest weekly gain since March on the back of earnings show and continued foreign inflows.
Also, the NSE Nifty-50, after retesting the crucial 8,200-mark during early trade, closed higher by 21.85 points, or 0.27 per cent, at 8,178.50.
Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) purchased shares worth a net Rs 479.89 crore last Friday, according to provisional data.
In the Sensex pack, Tata Motors was the biggest mover, gaining 4.23 per cent, followed by Coal India (3.80 per cent). The coal behemoth yesterday announced nearly 6.3 per cent increase in dry fuel prices and posted a marginal rise in net profit for the fourth quarter. Hero MotoCorp, TCS, NTPC and Dr Reddy’s, ITC and Bajaj Auto all gained up to 3.02 per cent.
BHEL plunged the most by falling 5.81 per cent after the company’s net profit declined 59.5 per cent in the fourth quart ended March 2015-16. Aluminium maker Hindalco today surged over 11 per cent after its standalone net profit more than doubled for the fourth quarter.
In the 30-share Sensex team, 17 added to their gains. The BSE metal index led the charge, climbing 2.28 per cent, followed by IT 1.33 per cent, technology 1.17 per cent and auto 1.11 per cent.
In sync with the overall trend, the broader markets too continued to display a firm trend, with the small-cap index rising 0.42 per cent while mid-cap rose 0.35 per cent.
In the rest of Asia, Japan’s Nikkei ended 1.39 per cent higher boosted by hopes that the government will delay a sales tax hike while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng firmed up 0.26 per cent. Shanghai Composite Index ended 0.05 per cent higher. European markets too were trading in the positive zone, tracking gains across most of Asia.