Late buying lifts Sensex, exit polls take centre-stage

Mumbai: Stocks summoned courage and left early losses behind with a gain of 194 points at the close on Thursday as investors shifted their attention to exit poll results of Gujarat election.

The NSE Nifty went above the 10,250-mark on some fag-end buying.

India’s economic growth has bottomed out and will recover further to 7 per cent over the next few quarters, but it is likely to take a few years to return to 7.5 per cent above levels, Standard Chartered said in a research report.

In the report on Economic Outlook in 2018, it said the worst is behind for India’s GDP growth, forecasting a growth figure of 6.5 per cent for 2017-18 and 7.2 per cent in the year thereafter.

The 30-share BSE Sensex bounced back in the last one hour of the session to hit a high of 33,321.52 before closing up 193.66 points — or 0.59 per cent — at 33,246.70.

The gauge had lost 402.75 points in the previous two sessions disappointed by grim economic data and the ADB lowering India’s economic growth forecast.

The 50-issue NSE Nifty in range-bound movements settled higher by 59.15 points, or 0.58 per cent, at 10,252.10.

Intra-day, it shuttled between 10,276.10 and 10,141.55.

A rise in wholesale inflation, which accelerated further to 3.93 per cent in November, injected a sense of caution though.

As expected, Janet Yellen, in her final act as the Fed chair, raised rates to a range of 1.25 per cent to 1.5 per cent, citing solid US job growth and household spending. The central bank kept its policy outlook on additional increases for 2018 and 2019 unchanged.

An appreciating rupee against US dollar created positive atmospherics for the stock upmove.

“VIX (volatility index) touched the 17 mark for the first time since February, hinting at the indecision ahead of Gujarat election results and the outcome of Parliament’s winter session starting tomorrow,” said Anand James, Chief Market Strategist, Geojit Financial Services.

Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) net sold shares worth Rs 578.65 crore on Wednesday and domestic institutional investors (DIIs) too were on the same boat selling equities of Rs 116.48 crore.

Broader markets painted a mixed picture. The BSE mid-cap index edged up 0.09 per cent while small-cap was down 0.32 per cent.

Dr Reddy’s was the leader of the Sensex team, with a gain of 2.34 per cent, followed by Cipla. Others that advanced too included ITC, M&M, Hero MotoCorp, Axis Bank, Lupin and Kotak Bank.

There were only a few losers, of which TCS plunged the most by 2.62 per cent, followed by Sun Pharma, Power Grid and L&T.

In sectoral play, oil and gas had a good run. Telecom, FMCG and banking were in the green, too.

Other Asian shares moved lower. European markets displayed weakness as investors looked forward to the European Central Bank (ECB) policy meeting.

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