Mumbai: The benchmark Sensex climbed 131 points to a new closing high of 21,164.52 Thursday in a late burst of buying as consumer durable, PSU and bank shares rose and the turnover of the top two exchanges hit a record.
Heavyweights Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank and State Bank of India boosted the index. Tata Steel, GAIL India and Tata Power were among the biggest gainers on the Sensex.
All sectoral indices, barring healthcare, were winners.
For most of the day, the 30-share S&P BSE Sensex moved in a range of almost 100 points. Buying kicked in during the last hour and pushed the index to 21,205.44, just shy of the all-time high of 21,206.77 reached on January 10, 2008.
The Sensex settled at an all-time closing high of 21,164.52, a gain of 130.55 points or 0.62 percent. In the past three trading days, it has flared up by 594.24 points. The index added 1,784.75 points in October.
Stocks have been gaining since Tuesday, when the Reserve Bank of India increased a key interest rate to combat inflation while also easing liquidity for banks.
The US Federal Reserve yesterday said it will wait for more signals that the economy was improving before tapering its USD 85 billion bond-buying every month.
"Strong buying was seen in last half-an-hour trading session as futures and options positions were rolled over on the October expiry day," said Rakesh Goyal, Senior Vice President at Bonanza Portfolio Ltd.
"Positive global cues and strengthening of the rupee along with the RBI's recent policy actions seem to have boosted market sentiment."
The combined turnover of the BSE and NSE soared to Rs 5.33 lakh crore, the highest ever for the Indian markets.
The 50-share CNX Nifty on the National Stock Exchange crossed 6,300 and touched a high of 6,309.05. However, it ended at 6,299.15, up 47.45 points. The Nifty registered an all-time high of 6,357.10 on January 8, 2008, and a record close of 6,312.45 on November 5, 2010.
Foreign institutional investors continued buying Indian stocks for the 19th straight session, purchasing a net Rs 1016.77 crore of shares yesterday, according to provisional data from the stock exchanges.
Asian stocks closed lower on concerns the Federal Reserve may start easing its stimulus programme sooner than previously forecast. Key indices in China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan fell.
European markets were weak in early trade, with the CAC, DAX and FTSE all down.
Of the 30 Sensex shares, 21 advanced, led by State Bank of India (4.33 percent), Tata Steel (2.45 percent), GAIL India (2.31 percent), Tata Power (1.99 percent) and ICICI Bank (1.96 percent).
Dr Reddy's Laboratories dropped 2.64 percent, followed by Sun Pharma 1.72 percent, Cipla 1.16 percent and Mahindra & Mahindra 0.97 percent.
Among the S&P BSE sectoral indices, consumer durables rose 2.65 percent, followed by PSU 2.47 percent, banks 1.93 percent, metals 1.73 percent and oil & gas 1.44 percent. The healthcare index fell 1.26 percent.
The market breadth remained positive as 1,315 stocks closed higher and 1,171 shares finished lower.
Total turnover on the BSE cash segment rose to Rs 2,534.07 crore from Rs 1,951.05 crore yesterday.