Mumbai: The BSE benchmark Sensex on Thursday surged 227.49 points to close at over six-week high of 19,407 on last minute buying in auto, healthcare, oil & gas, metal and banking stocks triggered by monthly expiry in derivatives segment and rate cut hopes amid firming Asian trend.

Rising for the fourth straight session, the Sensex advanced 227.49 points, or 1.19 percent, to close at 19,406.85, a level last seen on March 15. The index had gained 448 points in last three sessions.

Similarly, the broad-based NSE's Nifty regained 5,900 level by rising 79.40 points, or 1.36 percent, to 5,916.30, backed by surge in RIL and Dr Reddy's Lab stocks. Brokers said the buying activity further gathered momentum as investors and funds indulged in covering their short pending positions on April expiry in derivatives segment.

They said firming trend in the Asian region further fuelled the sentiment, adding the market received major support from financial and interest-sensitive stocks on optimism that RBI might cut interest rate in its monetary policy meet next week.

Pharmaceutical sector led by Dr Reddy's Lab rose significantly on hopes that growth in the domestic market would remain strong Dr Reddy spurted 4.11 percent to Rs 1,981.05, after touching an all-time high at Rs 1,999.40 and market heavy Reliance Industries by 1.97 percent to Rs 819.30.

In 30-BSE index components, 22 stocks climbed while eight closed with losses. The interest-sensitive Auto sector index gained the most by rising 2.79 percent to 10,757.78 followed by healthcare by 2.04 percent to 8,694.05. Oil and gas index rose by 1.43 percent to 8,834.26 and metal index by 1.32 percent to 8,758.09. The banking sector index rose by 1.37 percent to 14,544.92 as stocks of ICICI Bank, State Bank of India, HDFC Ltd, Yes Bank, Axis Bank and Bank of Baroda rose smartly. Shares of Jet Airways surged 10.69 percent to Rs 635.20 after the company announced plans to sell 24 percent equity to Etihad Airways for about Rs 2,058 crore.


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