Sensex marks first gain of 2018, rebounds 176 points

Sensex marks first gain of 2018, rebounds 176 points

Sensex marks first gain of 2018, rebounds 176 points

Benchmark Sensex reversed a three- session slide to end at 33,970 on Thursday after the government moved forward on its bank recapitalisation programme.

Investors also took heart from upbeat macro indicators and firm global cues, brokers said.

The finance ministry on Thursday sought Parliament's nod for extra expenditure of Rs 80,000 crore towards recapitalisation of bad loans-saddled public sector banks through bonds.

State-run lenders made handsome gains in Thursday's session. Index heavyweight SBI rose 1.72%, while UCO Bank, IDBI, Punjab National Bank, Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and Oriental Bank of Commerce, among others, rallied by up to 8.50%.

Market sentiment was bolstered after a monthly survey showed the Indian services sector returned to marginal growth in December as new orders broadly stabilised.

The BSE benchmark Sensex opened higher at 33,912.49 and hovered in a range of 33,995.40 to 33,802.13 before finishing at 33,969.64, showing a gain of 176.26 points or 0.52%.

The gauge had lost 263.45 points in the previous three sessions.

The NSE 50-share Nifty also closed higher by 61.60 points, or 0.59%, at 10,504.80 after shuttling between 10,513 and 10,441.45.

"Positive global cues and improvement in services PMI data for December helped the market move out of the subdued phase of trading.

"Global growth expectation and continued buying in metal stocks raised the market sentiment, while PSU banks outperformed on account of finalisation of recapitalisation," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.

Meanwhile, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) bought shares worth Rs 96.31 crore, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) were net sellers to the tune of Rs 269.20 crore on Wednesday, provisional data showed.

Asian bourses displayed a firm trend, led by Japan which began the first trading of 2018 on a strong footing. European markets opened higher.

Back home, Tata Steel was the biggest gainer in the Sensex kitty, rising 3.74%, followed by Dr Reddy's, which advanced 3.14%.

Meanwhile, after its brief overnight pause, the rupee on Thursday again bounced back to end at a fresh 2-1/2 year high of 63.41, gaining by 12 paise against the US dollar on optimism over a brightening economic picture.

This is the highest closing for the rupee since July 15, 2015 when it had finished at the same level.

The domestic currency largely withstood the initial wobble post-FOMC minutes release and flaring crude prices globally.

The rupee tumbled to a low of 63.62 intra-day before staging a remarkable recovery towards the fag-end.

Expectations over healthy capital flows against the backdrop of growing optimism surrounding the economy added further bullishness to the ongoing rally.

Forex sentiment also got a boost after a monthly survey showed the Indian services sector returned to growth in December as new orders broadly stabilised.

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