Markets brush aside poll fears, Sensex up 300 points


Mumbai : Brushing aside poll predictions that suggest a hung parliament, Indian equities opened higher Friday and helped a key index end a two-day losing streak and register a gain of over 300 points or 2.5 percent at the closing bell.

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Results to the Lok Sabha elections will start coming in from Saturday morning.

The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 11,948.7 points, rose 300.51 points or 2.53 percent from Thursday’s close to end trade at 12,173.42 points.

The S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) gained 2.18 percent to close at 3,671.65 points.

Broader market indices also ended in the positive terrain, with the BSE midcap index moving up 1.33 percent, while the BSE smallcap index was up 0.84 percent.

The Sensex touched an intra-day high of 12,219.54 points.

Of all the 13 sectoral indices on the BSE, only one, that for FMCG, ended in the negative terrain. The rally was primarily driven by banking, capital goods and consumer durables stocks.

Among the top gainers on the Sensex were Ranbaxy, up 8.59 percent at Rs.199.80; ICICI Bank, up 7.03 percent at Rs.574.45; Grasim Industries, up 4.96 percent at Rs.1,881.60; and Bharti Airtel, up 4.68 percent at Rs.799.80.

There were only five losers on the 30-composite Sensex: ONGC, down 2.27 percent at Rs.812.95; NTPC, down 0.56 percent at Rs.187.60; ITC, down 0.51 percent at Rs.186.15; Hindalco, down 0.49 percent at Rs.70.40; and Hindustan Unilever, down 0.09 percen at Rs.224.30.

The market breadth was positive, with 1,472 scrips advancing, 1,068 declining and 102 remaining unchanged.

Altogether, 36.39 crore shares worth Rs.4,564.43 crore were traded.

Data with the market watchdog, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), showed foreign funds were net sellers Friday having sold scrips worth $69.4 million, while mutual funds sold Rs.59.8 crore in equities May 14.

The NSE’s Volatility Index – a measure of the market’s expectation of volatility over the short term – stood at 51.25 points as of Thursday. Anything above 35 points indicates risk.

It was a good day at other Asian markets, with the Hang Seng, a key index of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, ending trade 249.01 points higher at 16,790.7 points, an increase of 1.51 percent.

The Nikkei, a key index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, rose 171.29 points to shut shop at 9,265.02 points.

European markets were however trading marginally lower with the FTSE in Britain ruling 12.88 points down to 4,338.39 points and its French peer CAC 40 trading 12.88 points lower at 3,143.41 points.