Sensex rises 324 points; oil and gas stocks rally

Sensex rises 324 points; oil and gas stocks rally

A benchmark index of Indian equities markets closed 324 points higher Thursday as oil and gas stocks rallied on the hopes of an increase in domestic gas pricing and a lower than expected current account deficit for the quarter ended March 31, 2013.

The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 18,716.11 points, closed at 18,875.95 points, up 323.83 points or 1.75 percent from its previous day's close at 18,552.12 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 18,925.75 points and a low of 18,688.28 points in pre-noon trade.

The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) also closed in the positive territory. It closed 1.68 percent or 93.65 points up at 5,682.35 points.

There was healthy buying in oil and gas, healthcare, bank, IT and technology, entertainment and media (TECk) stocks. However, there was selling pressure in consumer durables, capital goods and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) scrips.

The S&P BSE oil and gas index rose by 268.28 points, healthcare goods index went up by 209.82 points, bank index gained 190.03 points, IT index was up 189.67 points and the TECk index grew by 95.46 points.

Consumer durables index closed 66.57 points down. The capital goods index dipped by 3.39 points.

Twenty of the 30-sensitive companies gained in the day's trade. These included:
ONGC, up 4.14 percent at Rs.320.55; Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), up 3.85 percent at Rs.1,488.80; HDFC Bank, up 3.62 percent at Rs.646.30; Sun Pharma, up 3.54 percent at Rs.973.55; and Reliance Industries, up 3.48 percent at Rs.830.45.

The main losers were: Maruti Suzuki, down 1.61 percent at Rs.1,521.60; Tata Motors, down 1.35 percent at Rs.269.50; NTPC, down 0.53 percent at Rs.140.45; Coal India, down 0.49 percent at Rs.286.95; and BHEL, down 0.37 percent at Rs.163.05.

Among other Asian markets, the Japanese Nikkei was up by 2.96 percent, while the Chinese Hang Seng gained 0.50 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.08 percent.

The European markets were trading in the positive territory. While London's FTSE 100 was up 0.33 percent, Germany's DAX was trading higher by 0.06 percent and France's CAC 40 was up 0.03 percent.

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