Sensex posts gains; bank, capital goods stocks rally

Mumbai, March 14 (IANS) A benchmark index for Indian equities markets rose 207 points Thursday, as interest rate-sensitive banking, capital goods and oil and gas stocks rallied.

The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 19,367.26 points, closed at 19,570.44 points, up 1.07 percent or 207.89 points from its previous day's close at 19,362.55 points.

The wider 50-scrip S&P CNX NIFTY of the National Stock Exchange also rose sharply. The NIFTY gained 0.99 percent or 57.75 points at 5,908.95 points.

Banking, capital goods and oil and gas stocks made healthy gains after government data showed wholesale price-based inflation rose to 6.84 percent in February as compared to 6.62 percent in the previous month due to a sharp increase in the prices of fuel, food and vegetables.

On Wednesday, another set of data showed that industrial output saw better than expected 2.4 percent increase in January.

Continued inflationary pressure and revival in factory output has given rise to speculation that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) might not ease the monetary policy during its quarterly review March 19.

However, the market hopes the RBI will cut interest rates.

The BSE banking index grew by 280.93 points, the capital goods index by 129.94 points and the oil and gas index by 111.75 points. However, the consumer durables index was down 100 points.

The major Sensex gainers were: State Bank of India (SBI), up 3.51 percent at Rs.2,255.85; Maruti Suzuki, up 3.43 percent at Rs.1,420.45; Tata Power, up 2.86 percent at Rs.100.70; ICICI Bank, up 2.29 percent at Rs.1,110.75 and HDFC Bank, up 2.28 percent at Rs.649.60.

Only six of the 30 Sensex scrips closed in the red: Gail India, down 2.09 percent at Rs.332.75; Bajaj Auto, down 2.05 percent at Rs.1,854.55; Sun Pharma, down 0.93 percent at Rs.830, Bharti Airtel, down 0.82 percent at Rs.315 and Hero MotoCorp, down 0.14 percent at Rs.1,668.80.

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