Sensex up 60 points on late-buying, logs best weekly gain since October

Late-buying saved the day for markets on Friday as the benchmark Sensex overcame its early losses and advanced by a modest 60 points, helped by banking and blue-chips to log the best weekly gain since October. Recovery in European markets in early trade too lifted mood.

The broader NSE Nifty topped the 7,200-level. Investors were seen building their positions in anticipation of reforms announcement in the forthcoming Budget.

Both indices registered their best weekly gains since October last year, with the Sensex soaring 723.03 points, or 3.14%, and Nifty 229.80 points, or 3.29%.

Higher levels, however, could not be maintained as participants locked in gains. The gauge had gained 457.25 points in the previous two sessions.

The Sensex resumed the session lower at 23,640.32 and slipped further as renewed weakness in crude oil on oversupply worries hit sentiment.

But it staged a strong comeback on emergence of buying and covering-up of short positions by speculators before closing at 23,709.15, up 59.93 points, or 0.25%. The NSE Nifty crossed the 7,200-mark in a volatile trade.

At the close, it was higher by 19 points, or 0.26%, at 7,210.75. Out of the 30-share Sensex pack, 18 ended higher.

The largest state-owned lender, SBI, rose 3.20% to Rs 164.65 after the bank raised Rs 3,000 crore from bonds to fund business growth.

Other big gainers included Hero MotoCorp, Asian Paints, Bajaj Auto, NTPC, Bharti Airtel and M&M.

Among losers, Maruti Suzuki, BHEL, Coal India, Axis Bank, Dr Reddy’s Lab, HDFC Ltd, Sun Pharma, Adani Ports, Cipla, HDFC Bank and Hindustan Unilever fell by up to 2.02%, which restricted the upside in the indices. Sector-wise, the BSE auto index gained the most by surging 0.87%, followed by technology 0.56%, power 0.41%, IT 0.40% and banking 0.33%.

While small-cap rose 0.16%, mid-cap ended 0.12% lower.

Foreign investors net bought shares worth Rs 418.64 crore yesterday, showed provisional data. European stocks were higher in their early trade while Asia was mixed at the close.