Sensex closes above 20,000-mark after two years

Sensex closes above 20,000-mark after two years Mumbai: The BSE benchmark Sensex on Friday closed above 20,000 mark level for the first time in two years on continued buying in refinery stocks on government's reform step in virtually freeing diesel prices and good earnings by corporates.

The Sensex gained 75.01 points, or 0.38 percent, to close at 20,039.04, a level last seen on January 6, 2011. The gauge had surged 146 points in the previous session.

The broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty rose by 25.20 points, or 0.42 percent, to 6,064.40, after touching the day's high of 6,083.40.

The oil and gas sector index gained the most by 3.03 percent to 9,571.03 as the trend-setter oil major Reliance Industries climbed 1.05 percent to Rs 898.95 and Bharat Petroleium surged 9.64 percent to Rs 434.05. Indian Oil spurted by 10.46 percent to Rs 348.95, Oil India by 8.95 percent to Rs 561 and ONGC by 7.31 percent to Rs 337.50.

Buying activity was more confined to oil companies after the government move to raise diesel prices in an efforts to curb fuel subsidies and narrow the budgetary deficit.

Besides, a firming trend in Asia and higher opening in Europe on report of Chinese economy accelerating for the first time in two years and US housing sales jumped to four-year high further supported the uptrend.

In 30-BSE index kitty stocks, 16 stocks gained while 14 ended with losses.

Among other gainers, NTPC, GAIL, Maruti Suzuki, ICICI Bank, HDFC Ltd, ITC, Tata Power and State Bank of India rose upto 4.59 percent on increased investment buying.

ITC reported a 20.62 percent rise in net profit to Rs 2,051.85 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, 2012, on the back of robust sales in cigarettes, agri and paper businesses.

Private sector HDFC Bank posted a 30 percent jump in net profit at Rs 1,859.07 crore for the October-December quarter of the current fiscal, mainly on account of increased loan book.

The upsurge in the market capped as IT sector declined led by Wipro losing 7.88 percent to Rs 397.15 even as the company reported 18 percent rise in its consolidated net profit for the third quarter ended December 31, 2012.

PTI