It's the hope rally that pushed frontline stocks to higher levels on Thursday. Markets remained exuberant after a gap-up opening but came off its peak as the day progressed. Investors booked profits in heavyweights at higher levels near day's end.
Markets were euphoric as exit polls conducted in the assembly elections indicated that BJP could win 3 out of 5 states which are set to declare poll results on December 8.
The 30-share BSE Sensex ended 249 points higher at 20,957 levels and the 50-share Nifty was up 80 points at 6,241.
The partially convertible Indian rupee jumped to a five-week high against the dollar adding to the positive sentiment today. The rupee rose to as high as 61.67 against the dollar compared with yesterday's close of Rs 62.36. It is currently trading at 61.76-a-dollar.
State assembly elections were held in 5 Indian states in the month of November and December. Apart from Manipur, in four of these states namely Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Delhi, exit polls were conducted.
"These four states account for just 13% of the total Lok Sabha Seats (72 of the 543 seats). But these states accounted for 30% of BJP's seat tally in the 2009 elections and 41% in the 2004 elections 4. Is this really an indicator of the direction of the Parliament elections? Doing well in these states is not enough to indicate the direction of the 2014 election; it only indicates a direction where these 13% seats could go. In 2003, BJP won 3 of these 4 states but lost the 2004 elections. These results, however, are likely to reinforce the opinion polls that are showing BJP as the leading party in the 2014 elections," said Jyotivardhan Jaipuria of Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
In Asia, key stock indices were trading lower ahead of the US jobs data due on Friday while Japanese shares ended lower as investors turned cautious and booked profits after sharp gains recently. Nikkei ended down 1.5% at 15,177. Among others in the region, Hang Seng, Shanghai Composite and Straits Times were down 0.1-1.%.
On the BSE sectoral indices, Bankex was the top gainer, up 4.4%, followed by capital goods, PSU, realty, power, oil and gas, metal indices all up between 1% - 4.4%, consumer durables and auto were other gainers.
Banking shares were the market's darling today as most of the frontline stocks closing higher in the range of 3-6% on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) as rupee strengthened aqgianst the greenback.
Defensive sectors witnessed profit taking with Healthcare, FMCG and IT emerging as the top losers.
In the financial space, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC and SBI were up 1.7% - 6.6% each. Among other stocks which contributed the most to the Sensex gains include, Reliance, L&T, Maruti Suzuki and ONGC.
Bharti Airtel ened 1% higher at Rs 335.45 after the company said that its wholly-owned subsidiary - Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) B.V. - has priced euro 750 million 4% Guaranteed Senior Notes due 2018.
Among other shares, Strides Arcolab tanked 14.5% to close at Rs 843 after the pharmaceutical company said it has completed sale of its Agila Specialties Division to Mylan Inc. for a total consideration of up to $1.75 billion.
In the broader market, the BSE Mid-cap and Small-cap indices ended up 0.4%-0.7% higher.
Market breadth was more or less flat with 1,269 gainers and 1247 losers on the BSE.
Shares of defensive sectors companies like information technology (IT), pharmaceuticals and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) are trading lower by up to 4% in otherwise strong market. The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) IT, Healthcare and FMCG index are down by nearly 1% compared to 1.4% rise in the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex at 1310 hours.
TCS, Wipro, Infosys and Tech Mahindra from IT sector, ITC, Dabur India and Colgate Palmolive from FMCG pack and Sun Pharmaceuticals, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, Lupin and Ranbaxy Laboratories from healthcare index are down 1-2%.
Shares in Pfizer and Wyeth plunged 24% and 16% to close at Rs 1287 and Rs 810 levels respectively after both these stocks turned ex-dividend today.