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Pre-budget rally boosts Nifty, banks

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

Bulls were in total command of sentiment on Dalal Street as stocks posted their best weekly gain in more than 8 months ahead of the budget. Major indices rose for the fourth session in a row on Friday as traders went aggressively long into front line shares such as Maruti, Axis Bank, Bharti Airtel and HDFC. Heavy buying was witnessed in PSU stocks such as BHEL while some stocks such as Tata Motors, ITC and Colgate fell post their declaration of quarterly earnings.

The Nifty closed 39 points higher at 8,641 points, its best close since October 31st. This 12-week high also wipes out the impact of demonetization on stocks as investors used the 7.5 percent fall, over two months, in prices to buy quality at juicier valuations. The 51-share benchmark soared 3.4 percent this week, making its the best 5-day gain since May 22nd.

India's annual budget for the year to March 2018 has been advanced by nearly a month to February 1st. Traditionally, stocks have rallied ahead of the budget in anticipation of tax breaks, lower duties and a better business environment for companies. And it is this climb that is reflected in the market consolidating near its 12-week peak.

Here are the major trading events of the day:

* The Bank Nifty is the best performing major index in Asia, surging nearly 11 percent during January.

* Sustained buying helped the Nifty hit an intra-day high of 8,672 points. The index closed higher for the 4th day, which also marks the first day of the new monthly expiry of derivatives contracts.

* The Sensex added 174 points to 27,882 points on the Bombay Stock Exchange. ICICI Bank was the top gainer while ITC, post earnings, lost the most ground. ICICI Bank was the top traded stock as well.

* BHEL, Bharti Airtel, ICICI Bank, Bank of Baroda and NTPC jumped 3.4-5.6% and were among 32 stocks that rose on the Nifty.

* ITC, Bosch, Lupin, Wipro and Kotak Bank fell 1.5-3.0% and were among 19 stocks that dipped on the Nifty.

* ICICI Bank, ITC and HDFC were the top traded stocks by value.

* ICICI Bank, up 4.6%, was also the top traded stock by volume with 8.12 crore shares changing hands at an estimated value of 2,164 crore rupees. IFCI and Ashok Leyland were heavily traded as well.

* The rally was broad based with the Nifty 100, 200 and 500 indices rising about 0.5 percent. They pared early gains as some traders booked partial profit ahead of the weekend and after a 4-day rally. 

* Stocks in the realty, media and FMCG sectors dropped lower. All four benchmarks tracking the banking sector rose between 1-2.6 percent.

* Even though major indices gained modest ground, bears were active in the wider market where 756 shares fell versus 718 that rose.

* Friday was also the first trading day of the new monthly expiry of derivatives contracts. Futures of Adani Enterprises, PTC, JSW Energy and Petronet LNG surged smartly. On the losing side were Kaveri Seed, IDFC Bank, Jindal Steel & Power futures.