Sensex rises 180 points on rate cut hopes

Mumbai, Jan 25 (IANS) Indian equities markets key indices registered biggest rally in almost two weeks Friday, led by good buying support in interest rate sensitive banking, auto and realty stocks on expectations that the Reserve Bank of India will ease monetary policy next week.

The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened in the positive at 19,945.69 points, closed at 20,103.53 points, up 0.90 percent or 179.75 points from its previous day close at 19,923.78 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 20,129.01 points and low of 19,928.11 points in the intra-day. This is the biggest gain in the benchmark Sensex since Jan 14.

The wider 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange advanced 0.92 percent or 55.30 points to 6,074.65 points.

There was a strong buying support in the interest rate sensitive realty, auto and banking stocks on expectations that the Reserve Bank of India will cut key policy rates next week by at least a quarter a percent to boost economic growth.

The RBI is scheduled to announce the third quarter review of the monetary policy for the financial year 2012-13 Jan 29.

In the previous review announced Dec 18, the RBI has indicated that it would ease monetary policy in January review.

Among the sectoral indices, the biggest rally was in the real estate sector. The realty index of the BSE surged 4.42 percent. The auto index rallied 2.19 percent and the banking index advanced 1.17 percent.

The country's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki surged 4.15 percent at Rs.1,600.20 after announcing better than expected third quarter earnings.

Maruti Suzuki said its net profit in the third quarter of the current financial year more than doubled to Rs.501 crore year-on-year. This is the first increase in the company's profit in the last six quarters.

Other major Sensex gainers were: Bajaj Auto, up 3.36 percent at Rs.2079.20; Jindal Steel, up 3.27 percent at Rs.432.70; Mahindra & Mahindra, up 2.58 percent at Rs.899.60; and Tata Motors, up 2.55 percent at Rs.301.05.

Only seven of the 30 Sensex scrips closed in the red. Tata Power, down 1.03 percent at Rs.106.20; Coal India, down 0.73 percent at Rs.341.20; NTPC, down 0.50 percent at Rs.159.30; and Hero MotoCorp, down 0.39 percent at Rs.1764.20.

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