Sensex gains 61 points amid hopes of speedy reforms by PM

Sensex gains 61 points amid hopes of speedy reforms by PM Mumbai: Extending its gains for the second straight day, the Sensex on Wednesday advanced by 61 points led by metal and power stocks amid hopes of faster economic reforms with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself taking over the additional charge of Finance Ministry.

The BSE benchmark index, which had gained about 24 points in the previous session, scaled the key 17,000 level in early trade on positive Asian trends. After trading in a narrow 122-point range, the index finally closed at 16,967.76, up 61.18 points or 0.36 percent.

Sensex's gains were led by Tata Steel, Tata Power, Sterlite Industries, Sun Pharma and Hindalco that rose in 1.3-2.5 percent range. Around 22 counters gained in the 30-share index.

Similarly, the 50-share National Stock Exchange index Nifty rose by 21.10 points to 5,141.90, after touching the day's high of 5,160.10.

Brokers said the market breadth was positive on optimism that Singh would take steps to stem the rupee's slide and revive the faltering economy after taking charge of the finance portfolio.

"Investors expect strong reforms from PM Manmohan Singh," said RMN Finance head Rajiv Malik.

Pranab Mukherjee yesterday resigned as Finance Minister to contest the Presidential polls next month.

Analysts said hopes of economic revival are being built up in markets as Singh in 1991 had firmly put the economy on reform path. Investors have reason to believe that Singh would do an encore of 1991, they added.

The BSE-Metal index gained the most by rising 1.55 percent to 10,409.06 points. It was followed by BSE-Power index gaining 1.03 percent to 1,911.99 points on expectations the recent power tariff hike in Delhi would improve earnings.

Meanwhile, the rupee was trading weak at 57.10 levels against the US dollar after closing at 57.02 yesterday.

PTI