Markets cap robust week with major gains; Sensex, Nifty close above key levels

Bombay Stock Exchange building on Dalal Street. A positive alignment of domestic and global cues has buoyed the market sentiment. Reuters file

The markets capped the second sensational week of March with the benchmark indices closing above key psychological levels. The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE)'s 30-share Sensex paired some of the initial gains that saw it topping 500 points early in the day to close at 38,024 points, up 269 points or 0.71 per cent above the previous day's close. The National Stock Exchange's (NSE) 50-share Nifty closed at 11,487, about 85 points or 0.74 per cent higher. The improving liquidity and increasing faith in the ability of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring back the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) have added to the positive market sentiments, amplifying the positive global cues. The street is expecting another central bank rate cut in April as ahead of the general elections because of the comfortable inflation rates.

Banking stocks continued their robust run through the week into the final day on Friday buoying the benchmark indices. Sectoral index Bank Nifty closed the day at 29,381, up about 458 or 1.58 per cent. The best performers were HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank, both of which scaled their 52-week high during the day after setting new highs earlier in the week. HDFC Bank closed at 2,258, up 33.25 or1.49 per cent from the previous day's close. The share set a new 52-week high of 2,259.90 during the day. ICICI Bank closed at 395.80, up 7.90 or 2.04 per cent after resetting the 52-week high for the second time in the week to 398.25. Kotak Mahindra Bank closed at 1,328, up 59.05 up or 4.65 per cent.

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) that touched its 52-week high of 1,362 on Thursday lagged on Friday, closing the day at 1,323, down 17.80 or 1.33 per cent. The other laggards were ITC Limited and Hindustan Unilever (HUL). ITC closed 3.90 down at 291.60 from the previous day's close. HUL crashed 36.30 or 2.09 per cent to close the day at 1,701.

In the broader market, the BSE MidCap index ended 83 points, or 0.55 per cent higher at 15,172, while BSE SmallCap closed at 14,837, down 51 points or 0.34 per cent.

HDFC Bank
HDFC Bank. India's biggest private bank pushed Nifty Bank rise on improving liquidity and RBI rate cut expectations. Reuters

Titan Company has hit a new high of Rs1,112, up 2.5 per cent, in intra-day trade as the lifestyle retail company is set to join the elite club of companies with Rs 1-trillion market capitalization (market cap) on the BSE. The stock closed at 1,095 on BSE, up nearly 1 per cent.

Nifty PSU Bank rose about 1.88 per cent, buoyed by Bank of Baroda and Punjab National Bank shares to close at 3098. The Nifty Private Bank was also up by 1.59 per cent to close at 16,769, market sources said.

The Indian markets have taken the cue of advances in the Asian stocks that have been watching the steady progress of the US-China trade talks and UK lawmakers' vote to delay a potentially chaotic Brexit. The MSCI broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.55 per cent, according to reports. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.7 per cent and Japan's Nikkei rose 0.8 per cent.

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