Sensex hits record closing high

Mumbai, Oct 31 (IANS) A benchmark index of Indian stock markets Thursday hit a record closing high of 21,164.52 points, helped by strong buying in bank and consumer durables scrips.

The 30-scrip S&P Sensex of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) closed 130.55 points or 0.62 percent higher at 21,164.52 points. This is the highest closing level of the benchmark index.

The Sensex breached its previous highest closing mark on Wednesday at 21,033.97 points. The benchmark index's highest closing till Wednesday stood at 21,004 points registered Nov 5,2010.

The Sensex is just a mere 0.19 percent away from its record high of 21,206.77 points on Jan 10, 2008. It touched an intra-day high of 21,205.44 points in Wednesday's trading.

The wider 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) also made healthy gains. The Nifty closed 0.76 percent or 47.45 points higher at 6,299.15 points.

There was healthy buying support in bank, consumer goods, metal, public sector undertakings (PSU) and oil and gas stocks. However, healthcare companies fell.

The S&P BSE Bank index was up 248.13 points, followed by consumer durables index which gained 163.03 points, metal index, up 156.41 points, PSU index, up 139.99 points, and oil and gas index, up 126.87 points.

However, the BSE healthcare index declined 122.60 points.

Prominent Sensex gainers were: State Bank of India (SBI), up 4.33 percent at Rs.1,795.50; Tata Steel, up 2.45 percent at Rs.33.40; Gail India, 2.31 percent at Rs.352.85; Tata Power, up 1.99 percent at Rs.82.05; and ICICI Bank, up 1.96 percent at Rs.1,121.05.

Only nine of the 30 Sensex scrips closed in the red. Dr Reddy's Lab, down 2.64 percent at Rs.2,455.95; Sun Pharma, down 1.72 percent at Rs.607.95; Cipla, down 1.16 percent at Rs.431.95; Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M), down 0.97 percent at 888.35; and Hindustan Unilever, down 0.67 percent at Rs.609.25 were among the major Sensex losers.

Among the Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei closed 1.20 percent down, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was lower by 0.42 percent, and China's Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.87 percent.

In Europe, London's FTSE 100 was trading 0.44 percent lower, and Germany's DAX Index was down 0.19 percent. The French CAC 40 Index gained 0.18 percent.