Sensex scales past 29,000 mark

Buoyed by sustained capital inflows, the benchmark BSE Sensex today breached 29,000-level for the first time, extending their record-setting spree for the third straight day, even as world markets are eagerly awaiting a big stimulus package by ECB to lift struggling European economy.

Fast building optimism over Narendra Modi-led government's first full budget on February 28 also bolstered the investor sentiment.

The BSE barometer surpassed the key 29,000-level in early trade with healthcare, capital goods and auto shares in particular attracting investor interest.

The key index though pared some gains concluded the day at its lifetime high of 29,006.02, a gain of 117.16 points or 0.41 per cent from its previous close, taking its gaining streak for the sixth day in succession.

The Sensex has gained by 1,659.20 or 6.07 per cent in the six days.

The NSE Nifty also continued its winning run and posted a gain of 31.90 points to hit a fresh record high of 8,774.15.

Aided by strong foreign fund inflows, the key indices have been setting fresh high level for the past three days.

Sun Pharma soared 3.65 per cent to emerged as the biggest Sensex gainer, followed by Axis Bank at 3.30 pct. Tata Motors (2.70 pc), ONGC (2.01 pc), Cipla (1.73 pc), Tata Steel (1.51 pc), Infosys (1.41 pc), Coal India (1.24 pc), Wipro (1.17 pc) and Dr Reddy's Lab (1.01 pc) were the other big gainers..

However, NTPC fell by 2.44 pct and by Reliance Industries 2.27 pc, Hero Motocorp 1.33 pc and Maruti 1.02 pc.

Markets are seen consolidating after rallying for 2-3 consecutive sessions on profit-booking at these levels, and partially due to lack of global cues, said Hiren Dhakan, Associate Fund Manager, Bonanza Portfolio.

"Investors across the globe are eyeing the outcome of the European Central Bank (ECB) meet (later in the day) and are expecting announcement of monetary stimulus, which will further improve the liquidity scenario. We shall be seeing its reaction in local markets on Friday," said Jayant Manglik, President, Retail Distribution, Religare Securities.

Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 2,065.49 crore on yesterday, as per provisional data.

Among the BSE sectoral indices, healthcare 1.69 gained pc and Capital Goods rose 1.12 pc, while auto was up 0.72 pc.

Total market breadth remained negative as 1,575 stocks ended in the red, 1,347 closed in the green and 111 ruled steady. Total turnover dropped to Rs 3,553.11 crs from Rs 4,482.10 crs yesterday.

Most Asian stocks ended higher as investors bet the European Central Bank will unveil a bond-buying stimulus programme later in the day in an attempt to revive the flagging euro zone economy.

Key benchmark indices in China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan moved up by 0.28 per cent to 0.70 per cent while South Korea's Kospi eased by 0.02 per cent.

European markets were trading narrowly mixed on caution ahead of the outcome of a monetary policy review. Key indices in France and Germany moved down by 0.22 pc to 0.28 pc, while UK's FTSE was quoted marginally higher by 0.11 pc.

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