The key S&P BSE Sensex surged 2 per cent on Thursday to close at a six-week high of 19,676.06, tracking global stock markets that were boosted by US Federal Reserve Chief Ben Bernanke's comments on continuing monetary stimulus.
The 30-share gauge opened higher, following firm Asian cues, and rallied to 19,723.51. At the close, it added 381.94 points to 19,676.06, the highest level since 19,760.30 reached on May 31. It dropped 0.75 per cent on Wednesday.
Trading sentiment was bolstered after Bernanke last night signalled that the monetary stimulus would continue for some time, boosting the prospects of fund flows to the emerging markets, brokers said. The Fed's bond-buying programme, which has flooded global markets with liquidity, has helped support an array of assets, including equities.
Cautious investors picked fundamentally strong stocks ahead of the earnings season, starting tomorrow with first-quarter results from Infosys.
The broader Nifty index on the National Stock Exchange gained 118.40 points, or 2.04 per cent, to close at 5,935.10. The SX40 index of the MCX-SX closed 211.03 points, or 1.83 per cent, higher at 11,744.81.
Investors were richer by nearly Rs 1 lakh crore as overall 1,358 stocks rose while 974 declined on the BSE platform.
"Indian markets rallied strongly, propelled by comments from Mr. Bernanke," said Sanjeev Zarbade, Vice President - Private Client Group Research, at Kotak Securities. "Going ahead, we have the Infosys numbers. While the recovery in markets is comforting, crude oil has again firmed up...We remain concerned on this front."
The rupee, which rose to a one-week (rpt) one-week high in early trade, erased those gains to close marginally weaker at 59.67 against the dollar.
Overall, 12 of the 13 sectoral indices gained, adding between 0.55-3.00 per cent, with metals, banking, realty, capital goods, refinery and PSU segments taking the lead.
The major Sensex gainers included HDFC Bank, ITC, HDFC, TCS, Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank, L&T, ONGC, Bharti Airtel, Infosys and SBI.