Market benchmark Sensex maintained its winning momentum for a second consecutive session, rising 86.29 points to close at a six-week high of 24,804.28, as investors went with firm global cues instead of a further fall in wholesale prices and disappointing factory output data.
Asian and European markets, which advanced for a third day ahead of policy reviews by Bank of Japan and the US Federal Reserve, kept sentiment upbeat here.
Besides, weak industrial production also couldn’t stifle new positions despite declining for a third consecutive month in January.
“WPI released offered little surprise, but forecasts for lower CPI figure for February, due for release later in the day, arrested declines on expectations of further rate cuts when RBI meets next in April,” said Anand James, Co Head Technical Research Desk, Geojit BNP Paribas.
Deflationary trend continued for the 16th month in a row as wholesale prices declined by 0.91 per cent in February, prompting India Inc to press for a rate cut by RBI to boost factory output, which has been contracting since November.
The biggest gainer on Sensex was ICICI Bank, which climbed 3.70 per cent to Rs 221.70. Besides, Tata Motors surged 3.36 per cent to Rs 365.90 after the automaker on Friday said global wholesales in February, including that of Jaguar Land Rover, grew 17 per cent.
Sensex resumed higher at 24,801.70 and firmed up further to 24,960.51 on initial buying. But, declined afterwards to 24,734.04 before finishing at 24,804.28, showing a gain of 86.29 points or 0.35 per cent. It had last ended at 24,824.83 on February 1.
The NSE Nifty ended 28.55 points or 0.38 per cent higher at 7,538.75 after moving in a range 7,583.70 to 7,515.05.
Coal India was the worst Sensex performer with shares ending nearly 7 per cent down on massive selling by investors as the stock went ex-dividend today.
Shares of pharma firm Pfizer slumped 9 per cent as the company discontinued the manufacture and sale of popular cough syrup Corex with immediate effect.
Bhushan Steel ended 5.68 per cent higher after the company received the environment clearance for addition of 7 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) pellet plant to the existing 5.6 mtpa integrated steel plant in Dhenkanal, Odisha.
Overseas, Asian markets rose, buoyed by gains on Wall Street Friday as well as the Bank of Japan’s two-day policy meeting, which began today.
Key indices in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan rose by 0.04 per cent to 1.75 per cent.
European markets were also higher in their afternoon trade as key indices in France, Germany and the UK rose between 0.44 per cent and 1.54 per cent.
Major gainers were ICICI Bank (3.70 pc), Tata Motors (3.36 pc), BHEL (1.88 pc), ONGC (1.51 pc), GAIL (0.94 pc), Bharti Airtel (0.90 pc), SBI (0.86 pc), Axis Bank (0.85 pc), ITC (0.83 pc), NTPC (0.79 pc) and Dr Reddy’s (0.70 pc).
However, Coal India fell by 6.96 per cent followed by TCS (0.88 pc), M&M (0.73 pc), Sun Pharma (0.43 pc), Bajaj Auto (0.42 pc) and Wipro (0.25 pc).
Among BSE sectoral and industry indices, bankex rose by 0.81 per cent, followed by industrials 0.73 per cent, FMCG (0.69 pc), auto (0.60 pc), finance (0.59 pc), oil&gas (0.47 pc), telecom (0.46 pc) and power (0.29 pc), while metal decline by 2.04 per cent followed by realty 0.32 per cent and consumer durables 0.23 per cent.
The market breadth remained negative as 1,330 shares ended lower, 1,323 closed higher while 173 ruled steady.
The total turnover rose to Rs 4,253.37 crore from Rs 2,419.55 crore on Friday.