Mumbai: Bolstered by a sharp rise in FMCG giants HUL and ITC, the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex on Wednesday recovered almost half of the previous day's losses, gaining 97.5 points to 19,948.73, even as the government liberalised FDI norms in various sectors.
Mixed-to-weak global trends ahead of the US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's semi-annual testimony and earnings from heavyweights such as Bank of America Corp. And Intel Corp. Weighed on the market.
The 30-share Sensex opened higher and climbed to 19,983.22 before dropping to a low of 19,778.54 on the back of a reversal in the European market. The index later recovered on buying in blue-chip counters to end at 19,948.73, a rise of 97.5 points, or 0.49 percent.
The 50-share CNX Nifty index of the NSE rose 18.05 points, or 0.30 percent, to 5,973.30.
Hindustan Unilever (HUL) led gains on the Sensex, rising 9.86 percent, while ITC firmed up by 2.28 percent. Both stocks climbed to 52-week highs in intraday trade.
"HUL shot up over 9 percent on account of FTSE rebalancing," said Amar Ambani, head of research at India Infoline. "From July 22, its float increases to 33 percent from 24 percent in FTSE's All-World and All Emerging indices. Meanwhile, the company has hiked prices of some of its best selling products in the soap category by up to 15 percent."
Telecom stocks erased their initial gains and ended with losses of as much as 4.3 percent after the government allowed 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in the sector.
Banking, auto and realty stocks, which are sensitive to interest rates, continued to be at the receiving end after the Reserve Bank's measures to tighten liquidity in the banking system and support the rupee.
Shares of HDFC Bank, which today posted a 30 percent increase in net profit to Rs 1,843.86 crore in the first quarter, declined 2.36 percent.
On the Sensex, 15 shares ended with gains. The increase in the index was curbed by declines in HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Tata Motors, M&M, Bharti Airtel, SBI and Tata Steel.
Asian shares ended mixed ahead of the two-day congressional testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Key indices in Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea closed higher, while in China, Singapore and Taiwan, they finished lower.
European markets wiped out their early gains and traded lower in late morning deals. The CAC was down 0.5 percent, the DAX 0.58 percent and the FTSE 0.36 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite Index also indicated weak openings today.
In the domestic market, other Sensex gainers were NTPC (3.18 percent), Wipro (2.96 percent), Tata Power (1.96 percent), RIL (1.58 percent), TCS (1.52 percent), Dr Reddy's Lab (1.37 percent), Cipla (1.14 percent) and Infosys (0.73 percent).
However, Tata Steel fell 3.26 percent, followed by HDFC Bank (2.36 percent), ICICI Bank (2.29 percent), M&M (2.23 percent), Tata Motors (1.85 percent), Bharti Airtel (1.68 percent), Sterlite Ind (1.64 percent), Hindalco (1.59 percent) and SBI (1.17 percent).
Among the sectoral indices, S&P BSE-FMCG rose 3.39 percent, followed by S&P BSE-CD 1.10 percent, S&P BSE-IT 1 percent and S&P BSE Oil&Gas 0.61 percent, while S&P BSE Bankex dropped 2.32 percent, S&P BSE-Metal 1.82 percent, S&P BSE-Auto 0.77 percent and S&P BSE-Realty 0.71 percent.
The total market breadth remained negative, with 1,288 stocks ending lower and 1,032 stocks finishing higher. Total turnover rose further to Rs 2,034.54 crore from Rs 1,887.91 crore yesterday.
First Published: Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 16:29