Sensex up 405 points as rupee recovers on fresh RBI steps

Sensex up 405 points as rupee recovers on fresh RBI steps Mumbai: The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex surged 405 points on Thursday, the biggest gain in a week, as the battered rupee recovered on fresh steps by the RBI to ease volatility in the currency markets.

The Reserve Bank of India on Wednesday allowed the three state-owned oil companies to buy dollars from the central bank. The PSU oil companies are the biggest buyers of dollars, requiring USD 8-8.5 billion every month for the import of an average 7.5 million tonnes of crude oil.

The rupee, which closed at a historic low of 68.80 yesterday, recovered and quoted at 67.30 in the afternoon.

The 30-share Sensex opened higher and stayed in positive territory until it settled at 18,401.04, a rise of 404.89 points or 2.25 percent. The gain was the most since August 22, when the index climbed 407 points, or 2.27 percent.

The broader Nifty index on the National Stock Exchange added 124.05 points, or 2.35 percent, to 5,409.05. The SX40 index on the MCX-SX closed at 10,849.51, up 219.46 points or 2.06 percent.

Oil and gas led all BSE sectoral indices higher, followed by metal, FMCG, capital goods and auto shares.

Sesa Goa was the biggest gainer on the index, climbing 13.54 percent. The other major gainers were HDFC, Hindalco and Reliance Industries.

The three PSU oil companies gave up their initial gains at the close. Indian Oil rose 1.45 percent to Rs 209.55, Bharat Petroleum climbed 0.45 percent to Rs 270.05 and Hindustan Petroleum fell 0.31 percent to Rs 163.55.

US President Barack Obama's statement that he had not yet decided whether to attack Syria in the aftermath of the Assad regime allegedly using chemical weapons, also gave a reprieve to investors.

Asian stocks ended higher as a weaker-than-expected report on US durable-goods orders triggered speculation the Federal Reserve may delay easing its monetary stimulus.

Barring China's Shanghai Composite, indices in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan firmed up. European stocks were higher in early trade, with indices in France, Germany and UK moving up.

In the domestic market, 24 Sensex shares gained, led by Sesa Goa (13.54 percent), HDFC (6.3 percent), Hindalco (4.65 percent), Reliance Industries (4.22 percent) and Bharti Airtel (3.89 percent).

Among the sectoral indices, S&P BSE Oil and Gas rose 2.86 percent, followed by S&P BSE-Metal 2.38 percent, S&P BSE-FMCG 2.29 percent, S&P BSE-Capital Goods 2.2 percent and S&P BSE-Auto 2.1 percent.

The market breadth turned positive as 1,274 stocks ended higher while 990 closed lower. Total turnover dropped to Rs 2,190.39 crore from Rs 2,621.36 crore yesterday.

Foreign institutional investors sold a net Rs 1,120.43 crore of shares yesterday, as per provisional data with stock exchanges.

PTI