Market benchmark Sensex surged by 481 points today to 25,626.75 -- its highest level in nearly three and a half months—led by gains in banking and auto stocks on forecast of an ‘above normal’ monsoon and positive macroeconomic data.
Bullish global cues sparked by surging oil prices after reports of a deal between Russian and Saudi Arabia to limit the output and strong data from China also played a part.
For the holiday-shortened week, the Sensex and Nifty logged a hefty rise of 952.91 points or 3.86 per cent and 295.25 points or 3.76 per cent, respectively, halting two straight weekly slide.
Markets will remain closed tomorrow and Friday on account of Ambedkar Jayanti and Ram Navmi, respectively.
Sentiment was extremely bullish after the Met Department predicted above-normal showers this year, retail inflation fell to a six-month low of 4.83 per cent in March and the IIP expanded at a better-than-expected 2 per cent in February.
In its World Economic Outlook, the IMF retained its 7.5 per cent GDP expansion forecast for India in 2016 and 2017.
The Sensex stayed in the positive zone throughout the session and ended higher by 481.16 points or 1.91 per cent at 25,626.75 -- its highest closing since January 1.
Recapturing the 7,800-level, the broader NSE Nifty hit a high of 7,864.80 before settling at 7,850.45, up 141.50 points or 1.84 per cent.
From the 30-share Sensex kitty, 28 ended in the green.
IT major Wipro finished 2.89 per cent higher at Rs 584.60
after the company said its board would consider a proposal for buy-back of equity shares later this month.
Other prominent gainers included Bajaj Auto, BHEL, Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Hero MotoCorp, Hindustan Unilever, Tata Steel, ITC, SBI, HDFC, RIL, Cipla, Axis Bank and HDFC Bank, rising by up to 4.95 per cent.
Sectorally, the BSE auto index was the biggest gainer as it rose by 3.59 per cent followed by banking 2.56 per cent, metal 2.14 per cent, FMCG 1.86 per cent, realty 1.69 per cent and power 1.37 per cent.
Persistent buying by retail investors lifted the small-cap index by 1.06 per cent and the mid-cap by 0.91 per cent.
Globally, most Asian stocks settled higher with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gaining 3.19 per cent, Japan’s Nikkei rising 2.84 per cent and Shanghai Composite Index surging 1.42 per cent, helped by data showing a better-than-expected rise in Chinese exports. European stocks also ruled higher with stronger oil.