Mumbai: The Sensex shrugged off initial hesitancy and climbed to a fresh five-month high of 17,728.20 on Tuesday after gaining nearly 95 points on renewed hopes of rate cut by the Reserve Bank following lower-than-expected fall in July inflation numbers.
    
The BSE benchmark index opened flat on mixed global cues and touched the day's low of 17,572.34 -- down 61 points over on Monday's close -- amid investors expecting July wholesale price index based inflation would be at 7.3 percent level.
    
The government data, however, showed inflation declined to 6.87 percent. This is the first time the number fell below 7 percent in over 30 months. Markets rejoiced it with Sensex moving up. It settled the day 94.75 points up at 17,728.20, a level last seen on March 15.
    
"Inflation numbers came out lower than street estimates. This moderation raises expectation for some monetary easing," said Milan Bavishi, Head Research, Inventure Growth & Securities.
    
The rise was led by stocks of refiners, banks and metal sectors. The gainers in 30-share Sensex were led by Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Jindal Steel and ICICI Bank which gained in the 2-3 percent range. ONGC, Gail and RIL also gained.
    
Brokers said, after a weak start, the sentiment improved as inflation numbers came in lower-than-expected. Investors ignored reports that exports in July have seen the steepest fall in three years to USD 22.4 billion.
    
If CPI inflation shows easing signs when it is released on August 21, the RBI may lower repo rate in its September 17 monetary policy meeting, fund managers said.
    
The 50-share National Stock Exchange index Nifty rose by 32.45 points, or 0.61 percent to 5,380.35, after touching a day's high of 5,387.05.
    
Traders also said that the domestic market received further support on Tuesday on firming global stock markets.

On the global front, Asian stocks settled higher as reports said minutes of a meeting by Bank of Japan officials showed policy makers are considering steps to boost the economy.

Investors continued to bet global central banks will provide stimulus to support growth while economic data from Europe improved market sentiment in Asian markets. Key indices from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan ended higher between 0.30-1.27 percent range.
    
European markets were also trading higher in the afternoon deals following better-than-expected German and French gross domestic product (GDP) data. The CAC (France) was up by 0.54 percent, the DAX (Germany) was higher by 0.81 percent and the FTSE (UK) was up 0.51 percent.
Back home, 19 stocks in the 30-share Sensex ended higher while 11 scrips finished lower compared to on Monday.     

Major gainers from the Sensex were Tata Motors (2.85 pc), Tata Steel (2.53 pc), Jindal Steel (2.47 pc), ICICI bank (2.05 pc), ONGC (1.82 pc), Gail India (1.65 pc), Coal India (1.64 pc) and Reliance Industries (1.43 pc).
    
However, Sun Pharma fell by 2.10 percent, followed by HDFC (1.78 pc) and Sterlite Industries (1.27 pc).    

Among the sectoral indices, the BSE-Oil&Gas firmed up by 1.27 percent, the Bankex gained 1.08 percent, the BSE-Metal inched up 0.83 percent, the BSE-PSU rose 0.71 percent and the BSE-Auto added 0.71 percent.
    
The overall market breadth remained positive as 1,412 stocks finished with gains while 1,385 settled with losses.
    
The total turnover firmed up to Rs 2,154.42 crore from Rs 1,857.97 crore on Monday.
    
Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) bought shares worth Rs 339.76 crores on Monday as per the provisional figures issued by the stock exchanges.
    
The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and the National Stock Exchange (NSE) will remain closed on Wednesday, August 15, for "Independence Day".

(Agencies)

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