BSE Sensex rises to highest level since May 2008

The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark Sensex on Thursday rose by over 139 points, or 0.80 percent, in early trade after on selective buying by funds and retail investors in power and metal stocks.

Mumbai: The BSE Sensex hit its highest level in nearly 20 months on Thursday, led by index heavyweights Reliance Industries and Infosys Technologies, and was set to post its biggest yearly gain since 1991.

At 12.54 pm, the 30-share BSE Index was trading 142 points higher at 17,486.56, to be up more than 81 percent for the year.

The benchmark rose to a high of 17,513.90, it highest level since May 5, 2008.

Nifty at the same time was trading at 5206.40 or 0.73 percent higher than yesterday`s close.

"The sentiment is positive. There is no negative news to hurt that. This euphoric sentiment will continue in the new year as well," said Daljeet Kohli, head of research for private client group at Emkay Global.

The main index has surged since March on strong foreign fund inflows, and is marching ahead to post its biggest yearly gains since 1991, when it jumped a record 82.1 percent.

"I think 2010 will be good, but it cannot be as good as 2009. We saw a spectacular rise in 2009, because of the low base as 2008 was a really bad year," he added.

Kohli said December quarter corporate earnings were expected to be robust, helped by the base effect of a weak economy a year earlier, and strong foreign inflows should continue.

"We are getting good money from overseas, and there are expectations fund allocations will increase," he said.

"We will also see good inflows in the market from local insurance companies for the quarter to March," added Kohli.

IT bellwether Infosys Technologies was up 1 percent at 2,605 rupees, on hopes of improving demand outlook, and energy giant Reliance Industries gained 1.7 percent to 1,092.65 rupees.

Engineering and construction firm was up 1.4 percent at 1.688 rupees. The company said it had won orders worth 5.8 billion rupees.

In the broader market, gainers outnumbered losers 3:1 on volume of 143 million shares.

The 50-share NSE index was up 0.9 percent at 5,216.60.

Bureau Report

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