Markets at record high on stable govt hopes; Sensex soars 650 points

The 50-share Nifty of NSE set a historic high of 6,871.35 but ended the day at 6,858.80, a gain of 198.95 points or 2.99 per cent from its previous close.

Mumbai: Hopes of a stable government assuming power at the Centre after a week triggered an upsurge of buying in markets Friday, with BSE benchmark Sensex zooming by over 650 points to breach the crucial 23,000-level for the first time.

Frenzied buying was witnessed across sectors, mainly in banking, realty, power, refinery and capital goods.

Share brokers attributed the surge to BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi exuding optimism in an interview last night that BJP will get a clear majority and form the "strongest and the most stable government" since Rajiv Gandhi's government in 1984.

"As the elections D-day is approaching closer, markets are rallying on anticipation of a favorable outcome," said Dinesh Thakkar, Chairman & Managing Director of Angel Broking.

Riding on continuous foreign fund inflows, the 30-share Sensex hit a new record of 23,048.49.

However, it settled the day a few notches lower at 22,994.23-- record closing high-- registering a rise of 650.19 points or 2.91 per cent, the biggest gain in almost eight months. On September 19 last year, the barometer soared over 684 points.

The previous all-time high record for the Sensex was 22,939.31, recorded on April 25.

The 50-share Nifty of NSE set a historic high of 6,871.35 but ended the day at 6,858.80, a gain of 198.95 points or 2.99 per cent from its previous close.

"Unmistakably, the focus remains on the approaching D-day, i.E. May 16 when the election verdict would be announced. But even before that, the market would react to exit polls numbers as it starts trickling in once the final phase of polling gets completed by May 12," said Sanjeev Zarbade, Vice President, Private Client Group Research, Kotak Securities.

ICICI Bank at 6.63 percent was the best performer. Tata Power was the next best 5.57 percent, Hindalco was up 5.35 percent, HDFC Bank (5.31 percent), BHEL (5.21 percent and Coal India (5.07 percent).

Of the 30 Sensex stocks, 27 rose sharply on good demand while the remaining three declined.

Prominent gainers of the day also included Axis Bank 4.87 percent, ONGC 4.13 percent, Maruti Suzuki 4.13 percent, HDFC 4.07 percent, Reliance Ind 3.93 percent, Hero Motocorp 3.92 percent, SBI 3.88 percent, M&M 3.86 percent, Tata Steel 3.64 percent, Larsen 3.29 percent and Bajaj Auto 2.56 percent.

"Going into the next week,... Focus will be firmly on the exit poll numbers due on Monday evening as well as on the final election results on Friday. A decisive verdict from the elections will be a long-term positive for the markets," said Zarbade.

Among BSE sectoral indices, bankex rose by 5.34 percent, followed by realty 4.38 percent, power 4.12 percent, Oil&Gas 3.44 percent, consumer goods 3.34 percent.

"We believe markets will continue to have Modi wave. Today's rally was led by financial. Bankex moving up by closer to 5 per cent, mainly led by renewed buying in private sector banks," said Rahul Shah, Vice President, Equity Advisory Group, Motilal Oswal Securities.

Small-cap and Mid-cap indices also rose by 0.72 percent and 1.47 percent respectively on good demand from retail investors.

The market breadth turned positive as 1,610 stocks finished with gains, 1,146 stocks ended with losses while 146 ruled steady. The total turnover rose to Rs 3,238.55 crores from Rs 2,299.87 crores yesterday.

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 363.24 crore yesterday, as per provisional data from the stock exchanges.

Most Asian stocks ended higher. Key indices in Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Japan ended higher by 0.12- 0.31 percent, while indices in China and Taiwan eased by 0.21- to 0.46 percent.

European stocks were trading lower. Key benchmark indices in France, Germany and UK eased by 0.41-0.54 percent.