Indian markets continue to rally for seventh straight week

Indian equities markets rallied for the seventh consecutive week, helped to a large extent by continuing foreign fund inflows and hopes of a rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India, as latest data showed inflation easing considerably.

The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) ended the week at 18,289.35 points, up 3.05 percent or 540.66 points from its previous week's close at 17,748.69 points.
The 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange also gained 3.28 percent or 182.7 points during the week to close Friday at 5,381.6 points.
Since the beginning of the year, Indian markets have been riding a firm bull rally. The Sensex has shot up over 18 percent or 2,834 points till Feb 17. The Nifty too has shot up 20 percent or 940 points in a little over a month.
Foreign fund flows have been the main catalyst of this rise. According to data from the Securities and Exchange Board of India, foreign institutional investors have pumped in close to $7 billion in Indian equities markets in just two months of 2012. 

In January, overseas funds flow was over $2 billion, and in this month till Feb 17, a whopping $4.85 billion were put in.

Broader markets did better during the week. The BSE 500 index rose 3.69 percent, while the BSE midcap index gained 4.77 percent. The BSE smallcap index moved up 3.27 percent.
India's annual inflation slipped to 6.55 percent in January,  lower than what was expected and at its slowest in 26 months, bringing relief to the policymakers and raising hopes of a rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) sooner.

During the week under review, gainers on the Sensex included: BHEL, up 15.4 percent at Rs.303.45; SBI, up 10.2 percent at Rs.2,416.75; Tata Steel, up 9.9 percent at Rs.478; and L&T, up 7.3 percent at Rs.1,448.65.
Among losers on the 30-scrip index were: Cipla, down 8.9 percent at Rs.321.55; RIL, down 4 percent at Rs.817.90; Hindalco, down 3.6 percent at Rs.151.10; and Coal India, down 2.7 percent at Rs.324.85.
Asian markets also rallied during the week with hopes rising that eurozone officials will soon agree to a bailout package for Greece.
The Japanese Nikkei rose 4.88 percent during the week to close at 9,384.17 points, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng moved up 3.41 percent and ended at 21,491.62 points Friday.
The Chinese Shanghai Composite index closed on a dull note, rising only 0.22 percent to end the week at 2,357.18 points.
European markets too saw gains. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.9 percent to close at 5,905.07 points, the German DAX closed 2.32 percent up at 6,848.03 points while the French CAC 40 gained 1.97 percent at 3,439.62 points.
In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average index rose 1.16 percent to close at 12,949.87 points and the S&P 500 index closed 1.38 percent higher at 1,361.23 points Friday. The technology heavy Nasdaq index went up 1.65 percent to close at 2,951.78 points.

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