Mumbai: Stock markets soared Monday with the benchmark Sensex gaining an impressive 243-point gain to scale a fresh two-year high, on aggressive buying into blue-chip stocks RIL, ICICI Bank and Bharti Airtel.
Opening after a three-day long break, the Bombay Stock Exchange`s 30-share Sensex rallied by 243.06 points to close at 17,935.68 points, its best closing since February 19, 2008.
Markets surged in early trade and never lost the momentum as the global cues were firm too. The smart 243-point gain today is the best single-day rise since February 3.
The NSE`s50-share Nifty rallied 1.47 per cent to settle at 5,368.40 points, its best since February 2008.
Marketmen said buying got a boost as there is an all- round optimism that India Inc would post impressive fourth quarter earnings. "Investors are expecting good quarterly earnings and healthy future outlook of the companies," Unicon Financial CEO Gajendra Nagpal said.
Brokers said if the market sustains the current buying level, the Sensex could breach the all-important 18,000-level with a few corporate in their fourth quarter earnings beating the market expectations.
Reliance Industries, which carries the maximum weight in Sensex, gained 2.88 per cent at Rs 1,125, above its January 14 high of 1,120.85.
Financials, auto and realty counters attracted good buying support. Country`s largest private sector lender ICICI Bank rose 3.28 per cent to Rs 984.35. SBI moved up 1.61 percent and HDFC Bank 0.21 per cent.
"Auto stocks were in demand following good March sales figures," Nagpal said. Hero Honda surged 4.40 per cent and M&M was up 2.50 percent.
India Infoline VP (Research) Amar Ambani said the stellar performance could be attributed to good buying in heavyweights like RIL, SBI and Bharti."
India`s biggest private sector mobile operator Bharti Airtel rose 4.45 percent.
The decline in IT counter somewhat narrowed the gains. Of the 13 sectors, only the BSE IT index settled in the red as the rupee hit a fresh two-year high against the US dollar.
The rupee was trading at 44.54 against the greenback.
Infosys declined 0.06 per cent, while TCS fell 0.64 percent and Wipro was down 0.04 per cent.
Buoyed by encouraging US trends, China`s Shanghai rose 0.33 percent and Hang Seng Index of Hong Kong settled 1.40 percent up. Japan`s Nikkei was 0.47 percent higher too.
In Europe, markets were trading in the green in the midsession. Britan`s FTSE 100 was 1.15 percent higher.
Over the weekend, US markets settled firm with Dow Jones closing higher by 0.65 percent.