Mumbai: The stock market zoomed past the 18,000-level, but frenetic profit-booking washed away a big chunk of gains with the Sensex closing only 122 points up at 17,823.40.

The BSE benchmark Sensex shot up 600 points intra-day on various positives, but a rise in minimum alternate tax (MAT) dampened the sentiment.

Besides, marketmen said that investors remain concerned over rising current account deficit and high inflation.

The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share barometer Sensex surged past the 18,000 mark to a high of 18,296.53, on proposal to cut surcharge for companies from 7.5 per cent to 5 percent.

It, however, finished the day at 17,823.40 points, up 122.49 from its last closing.

The NSE 50-issue Nifty also closed up by 29.70 points or 0.56 per cent to 5,333.25. It logged the intra-day high of 5,477.00.

"The Budget was a mildly populist one and largely attempted to tame inflation and rein in the fiscal deficit," said Amar Ambani, Head of Research (India Private Clients), IIFL.

"The stock market reaction has been positive only because equities had factored in heavy pessimism like rise in excise duty, service tax rate and a bigger market borrowing figure.

Overall a marginally positive budget, largely along expected lines," he added.

Investors were apprehensive that Budget will further roll-back the economic stimulus package but the proposals were largely positive and encouraging for the overall growth, analysts said.

"The market was extremely nervous prior to the announcement of the Budget, and feared a tough budget.

The Finance Minister did not announce any new tax or duty, which along with plan to contain rising inflation and fiscal deficit, gave a breather to the market," said Bonanza Portfolio Head Equity Avinash Gupta.

However, a rise in MAT rate to 18.50 per cent from book profit from 18 per cent, made operators as well as retail investors to book profits at higher levels.

Overall, the industry welcomed the Budget terming it as "positive" and "growth-oriented".

Kotak Mahindra Bank Vice-Chairman and MD Uday Kotak said, "Budget is positive for the equity and bond market and a 4.6 per cent fiscal deficit is looking like a very good number."

SBI MF CIO Navneet Munot said, "Though no major surprise, budget should be taken positively by both equity and the bond market."

He added, however, "As the event is behind us, the market would now focus on cues from global markets and incremental economic data and corporate earnings."

FMCG giant ITC was the top gainer from the Sensex pack with a sharp spurt of 8.23 per cent and was the major contributer to the index rise. There was no rise in excise duty for cigarettes.

Overall, 16 out of 30 index-based components ended in the green while others finished in the red.

Major gainers included M&M (3.19 pc), Maruti Suzuki (3.07 pc), ONGC (2.93 pc), Sterlite Ind (2.38 pc), Jindal Steel (2.09 pc), SBI (1.86 pc), BHEL (1.30 pc) and Wipro (1.24 pc).

REL Infra dropped 4.46 per cent, Jaipra Asso (2.88 pc), Hero Honda (2.36 pc), Tata Motor (2.11 pc), Tata Power (1.79 pc), REL Com (1.77 pc), ICICI Bank (1.65 pc) and Bajaj Auto (1.26 pc).

From the sectoral indices, BSE-FMCG flared up by 4.47 per cent, the BSE-PSU by 2.00 pct and BSE-Realty by 1.30 pct.

Amongst overseas markets, Asian shares ended mixed with upward bias, while European markets were trading lower in their afternoon deals.

The total market breadth turned positive as 1,598 stocks ended with gains against 1,204 that closed with losses on the BSE.

(Agencies)