Sensex snaps losing streak, gains 298 pts at close

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Frenzied buying in bank, capital goods, power and metal stocks enabled the market to snap its six session losing streak today. The opening was anything but firm and price movements till around noon remained quite listless with participants appearing somewhat clueless about the market’s direction.

However, as buying gathered steam in afternoon trade on reports that the Left front may allow the government to negotiate safeguards for a civilian nuclear agreement with the US, stocks cutting across sectors rallied higher. Information technology majors, which remained highly subdued till mid afternoon, broke free from their lower levels and edged higher. Short-covering after six straight days of losses also buoyed up values of several front line stocks.

The Sensex, which had slipped to a low of 18,636.21 following a weak start, vaulted to a high of 19,210.48 in afternoon trade before it settled at 19,035.48 with a big 1.59% or 298.21 point gain. The Nifty ended with a gain of 1.39% or 78.30 points at 5695.40. In intra-day trades today, the Nifty touched a low of 5591.60 and a high of 5758.85.

NTPC, which ended stronger by 7.4% at Rs 272.25, was the biggest gainer in the Sensex. HDFC Bank closed with a gain of nearly 7% at Rs 1578.50. Larsen & Toubro notched up 4.85%. HDFC ended nearly 3% up.

State Bank of India (2.65%), ICICI Bank (2.6%) and Tata Steel (2.2%) ended with handsome gains. Reliance Energy, Reliance Communications, BHEL, Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki gained 1% – 2%. ACC, Hindustan Unilever and Reliance Industries also closed with smart gains. Bajaj Auto, ONGC, ITC and Grasim Industries ended marginally higher than their previous closing levels.

IT majors Wipro (down 3.55%) and Tata Consultancy Services (down 1.5%) struggled almost right through the session today. Infosys Technologies (down 0.85%), Satyam Computer Services (down 0.6%) did have a bright time this afternoon but failed to retain gains.

Mahindra & Mahindra eased by 2.75% to Rs 708.30. Hindalco (down 1.6%), Ambuja Cements (down 0.75%) and Cipla (down 0.7%) closed with sharp losses. Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Ranbaxy Laboratories and Bharti Airtel also ended weak.

Nifty stock MTNL spurted 6.75%. ABB, Suzlon Energy, ABB, Tata Power, BPCL, Sun Pharmaceuticals, Punjab National Bank, SAIL, Sterlite Industries, Unitech, VSNL and Zee Entertainment also closed with impressive gains.

GAIL India, Nalco, GlaxoSmithKline Pharma, HCL Technologies, Siemens, Hero Honda and Reliance Petroleum ended in the negative zone with sharp to moderate losses.

Besides sector heavyweights HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank, Axis Bank, Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Indian Overseas Bank, Andhra Bank, Allahabad Bank, Kotak Bank, Corporation Bank, Union Bank of India, Canara Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Indian Bank, IDBI, Vijaya Bank and Bank of Maharashtra also finished on a high note today.

Areva was the biggest gainer from the capital goods index. The stock ended the day with a hefty gain of 13.45%. Alstom Projects vaulted 9.15%. Bharat Electronics gained 7.15%. Lakshmi Machine Works, Kalpataru Power Transmission, Bharat Earth Movers and ABB moved up by 3% – 6%. Crompton Greaves, AIA Engineering, Greaves Cotton, SKF India, Praj Industries and Jyoti Structures also recorded handsome gains.

Torrent Power, Power Grid, Chambal Fertilizers, Welspun Gujarat, Dredging Corporation, Ispat Industries, Jet Airways, Omaxe, Maharashtra Seamless, Punjab Tractors, Gujarat Narmada, Reliance Natural Resources, BF Utilities, Century Textiles, Power Finance Corporation, Bharat Forge, Divi’s Laboratories, IVRCL Infrastructure, DLF and Jindal Steel were among the prominent gainers today.

HTMT Global, National Fertilizers, Gujarat Minerals, Apollo Tyres, Hexaware Technologies, MRPL, MphasiS, Cairn India, Thermax, Bongaigaon Refinery, IPCA Laboratories, Balaji Telefilms, Chennai Petroleum Corporation, Patni Computer Services, Sesa Goa and Indian Hotels closed with sharp losses.

As several midcap and smallcap stocks also surged higher on strong buying support, the market breadth remained pretty strong today. Out of 2823 stocks traded on BSE, 1859 stocks romped home on a winning note. 898 stocks closed in the negative territory and 66 stocks settled at their previous closing levels. Mirroring the gains posted by midcap and smallcap stocks, the Midcap and Smallcap indices ended stronger by 2.12% and 1.89% respectively.

The turnover on the National Stock Exchange, at Rs 19,646.96 crore, was higher by over Rs 2,300 crore than what the exchange had recorded yesterday.

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