Sensex ends year on a high, best performance in 18 years


Mumbai : Indian equities markets closed the year in style, with a benchmark index adding over 120 points Thursday in what has been its best performance in 18 years.

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The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 17,365.37 points, closed for 2009 at 17,464.81 points, up 120.99 points or 0.7 percent from its previous close at 17,343.82 points.

It had crossed a 20-month high in the afternoon, touching 17,530.94 points.

Around the same time, at the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the broader 50-share S&P CNX Nifty closed at 5,201.05 points, against the previous close at 5,169.45 points, a gain of 0.61 percent.

Broader market indices also managed some gains, with the BSE midcap index ending 0.31 percent up and the BSE small cap index 0.6 percent higher.

The market breadth was positive, with 1,670 scrips advancing, 1,212 declining and 83 remaining unchanged.

Among major gainers at the Sensex were Jaiprakash Associates, up 3.2 percent at Rs.146.90; SBI, up 1.99 percent at Rs.2,269.45; BHEL, up 1.88 percent at Rs.2,406.10; and Tata Power, up 1.73 percent at Rs.1,080.80.

Among losers were DLF, down 1.27 percent at Rs.361.15, Sun Pharma, down 0.75 percent at Rs.1,507.10; Maruti Suzuki, down 0.64 percent at Rs.1,559.65; and Reliance Communications, down 0.52 percent at Rs.172.90.

According to data with the markets regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), foreign institutional investors were net buyers on the last day of the year, having bought scrips worth $75.72 million.

Analysts remained buoyant over Indian stock markets’ prospects in 2010.

“The outlook for 2010 for Equities as an asset class is pretty encouraging,” said Dinesh Thakkar, chairman and managing director of brokerage firm Angel Broking.

“The combination of low interest rates, low credit-to-GDP ratio and the huge latent domestic demand across sectors will ensure that the India growth story continues into 2010 and beyond,” he added.

Other Asian markets also closed in the green.

The Hang Seng, a benchmark index of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, ended 1.75 percent higher at 21,872.5 points.

In China, the Shanghai composite index closed 0.45 percent higher at 3,277.14 points.

Korean and Japanese markets were closed.

Key European markets were sluggish with the FTSE 100 index, benchmark index of the London Stock Exchange, ruling 0.16 percent up at 5,406.66 points, with traders preferring to go slow on the New Year eve half-day trade.

The French index, CAC 40, too was ruling on a flat note at 3,940.56 points, up 0.13 percent.

German markets were closed.