Sensex rises 153 pts to 1-mth high; HDFC Bank up, Wipro down

Sharp rise in HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank shares ahead of quarterly earnings and firm hopes of a rate cut by RBI helped the BSE benchmark Sensex jump by 153.37 points to end today at one-month high level of 19,169.83.

Besides banking and realty stocks, consumer durable, capital goods, metal and power shares also attracted buying support. However, led by Wipro, which fell nearly 8 per cent, IT stocks like Infosy and TCS saw selling on muted growth prospects and concerns over US immigration issues.

The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share barometer resumed weak but later bounced back and remained in positive terrain most of the day before closing at 19,169.83, a rise of 153.37 points or 0.81 per cent. On the preceding trading day, Sensex had flared up by 285.30 points to close above the 19,000-mark.

The broader CNX Nifty of the NSE today spurted by 51.30 points or 0.89 per cent to end at 5,834.40.

Brokers said the sentiment was bolstered as expectation that easing inflation and weak commodity prices might prompt the Reserve Bank of India to cut interest rate in an aggressive manner in its monetary policy meeting on May 3.

"Good liquidity coming in the market from FIIs along with falling gold prices and probable likelihood of rate cut in early next month, have boosted market sentiment," said Rakesh Goyal, Senior Vice President, Bonanza Portfolio.

Market experts said a firming trend in Asian and European markets as the Group of 20 refrained from opposing the Bank of Japan's stimulus policies, further supported the market.

Heavyweights like L&T, HDFC, RIL, SBI and ITC supported the rise in shares while Infosys, TCS, Wipro, ONGC, M&M and Bajaj Auto were major laggards in today's trade.

Traders said short-covering activity ahead of the expiry of futures and options contract on Thursday also helped domestic stocks remain firm.

Leading private sector banks including HDFC Bank (Tuesday) and ICICI Bank (Friday) will report January-March quarter earnings this week.

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