Indian equities close with gains, banks stocks surge (Roundup)

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Mumbai, March 24 (IANS) Healthy buying in banking stocks and a strong rupee pushed the Indian equity markets higher on Friday, leading the key indices to close with gains for the second consecutive trade session.

“Markets continued to rally with the BSE Sensex rising by 89 points. The NSE Nifty, on the other hand, closed at 9,108, holding its head above the 9100-level for the week,” Vijay Singhania, Founder and Director of brokerage firm Trade Smart Online, told IANS.

The wider 51-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) which closed at 9,108 points rose by 21.70 points or 0.24 per cent.

The barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 29,350.60 points, closed at 29,421.40 points — 89.24 points or 0.30 per cent higher from the previous close at 29,332.16 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 29,539.85 points and a low of 29,350.17 points during the intra-day trade.

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However, the BSE market breadth was marginally bearish — with 1,458 declines and 1,355 advances.

The broader markets were mixed. The S&P BSE mid-cap index was down a tad by 0.03 per cent, whereas the small-cap index edged higher by 0.35 per cent.

“Markets ended with marginal gains on Friday after a volatile session. They ended higher for the second consecutive session, backed largely by banks and other index heavy-weights, whereas advance-decline ratio on the BSE was marginally negative,” Deepak Jasani, Head – Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS.

“Major Asian markets have ended on a positive note, barring the Taiwan and Kospi indices. European indices like FTSE 100, CAC 40 and DAX traded lower.”

According to Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls, bouts of short covering were witnessed during the day which kept the sentiments firm throughout the trade session.

“Weakness in the USD/INR pair supported the continuation of recovery,” Desai noted.

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“However, the CNX Nifty failed to sustain at higher levels and witnessed some profit booking in the second half of the session.”

The Indian rupee strengthened by 12 paise to 65.41 against a US dollar from its previous close of 65.53 to a greenback.

On the sector-specific movement, Singhania asserted: “Banking stocks were the star performers for the day, especially the public sector banks which rose 3.31 percent for the day.”

“The Finance Minister had said that the government is going to announce a policy to push for the quick settlement of the non-performing assets (NPA) at the banks in the next few days. The RBI (Reserve Bank of India) will be involved in the decision making which can help resolve the issue faster than expected,” he explained.

Sector-wise, the S&P BSE banking index surged by 291.76 points, followed by the consumer durables index, which rose by 53.30 points, and the finance index, which edged up by 41.46 points.

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On the other hand, the S&P BSE IT index dipped by 84.80 points, the healthcare index fell by 44.43 points, and the Teck (technology, media and entertainment) index edged down by 39.76 points.

Major Sensex gainers on Friday were: ICICI Bank, up 2.90 per cent at Rs 274.80; State Bank of India (SBI), up 2.81 per cent at Rs 276.05; Gail, up 1.17 per cent at Rs 381.25; ITC, up 1.13 per cent at Rs 281.05; and Reliance Industries, up 0.95 per cent at Rs 1,286.20.

Major Sensex losers were: Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), down 1.31 per cent at Rs 2,426.75; Infosys, down 0.85 per cent at Rs 1,031.80; Bajaj Auto, down 0.64 per cent at Rs 2,846.35; Adani Ports, down 0.62 per cent at Rs 323.10; and ONGC, down 0.60 per cent at Rs 192.



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