Mumbai: The Sensex Thursday breached the 19,000 mark for the first time in nearly 15 months in anticipation of government unveiling next wave of big-ticket reforms like opening the pension sector to foreign investment and raising FDI cap in the insurance sector.
The Sensex opened on a positive note and further picked up the momentum surging over 200 points to cross the 19,000 level amid abuzz in the markets that Cabinet later in the day is likely to clear measures like opening pension sector to foreign investment, raising FDI cap in insurance sector from 26 percent to 49 percent, the Forward Contract Regulation Act (Amendment) Bill and the Companies Bill, among others.
Investors expect a rush of capital inflows if these big-ticket measures go through the Parliament, said brokers.
The BSE benchmark index hit 19,107.04 -- its highest since July 2011 -- as investors bought shares across realty, consumer goods, banks, capital goods and power sectors.
Rising for the fourth day, the 30-share index closed at 19,058.15, up 188.46 points or 1 percent, as 20 stocks led by Bhel (6.57 pc), ICICI Bank (2.93 pc), Dr Reddy (2.16 pc) and SBI (2.15 pc) ended higher. Gains logged by ITC, HDFC Bank and L&T counters also helped Sensex sustain above 19K mark Thursday.
Sensex has gained around 480 points in the last four days.
The 50-share NSE Nifty after breaching 5,800-level, ended at 17-month high levels of 5,787.60 - up 56.35 points.
In the overall market, over 1,700 stocks rose while 1,244 scrips declined. Total investor wealth rose by Rs 48,000 crore to Rs 66.71 lakh crore, shows BSE data.
"Sensex Thursday surpassed 19,000 and Nifty crossed 5,800 amid reports the government might clear bills aimed at hiking FDI in insurance and opening up the pension sector to foreign investors," said Amar Ambani, Head of Research, IIFL.
Shares of companies with exposure to insurance business including Aditya Birla Nuvo and Reliance Capital ended with 2-5 percent gain Thursday.
Meanwhile, rupee gained for the fifth day to touch a five and half month high, breaching 52 against dollar for the first time since April 20, 2012.
Globally, Asian stocks ended mixed while European shares pared losses ahead of Bank of England's and the European Central Bank's meets later in the day.