The BSE benchmark Sensex today erased initial losses to end 19 points higher on fag-end buying in oil & gas stocks triggered by expectations of hike in fuel prices, stretching market's gains to the fourth straight day.
The Sensex rose by 19.30 points, or 0.10 per cent, to close at 19,784.08. The gauge has climbed to its highest level since January 2011 on the back of the recent rally.
Buying was seen mainly in refinery, PSUs and IT counters. Smart rise in ICICI Bank, TCS, ONGC, Infosys, SBI and BHEL shares helped the index cement gains.
Outside the index, BPCL, HPCL, IOC and Gail gained in 1.8-5.5 per cent range on hopes that a proposed revision in the government's pricing formula would boost gas prices.
"Expectations of rise in diesel prices triggered rise in oil retailers," said Milan Bavishi, Head Research, Inventure Growth & Securities.
Additionally, Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily has allowed Reliance Industries and Cairn India to explore for oil and gas within the producing fields subject to certain conditions.
Cairn jumped 3 per cent while RIL closed almost flat.
However, the fall in HDFC, ITC, Tata Steel, L&T, Tata Motors, HDFC Bank, Jindal Steel, Sterlite and Hindalco capped the buoyancy to some extent.
The broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty gained by 6.65 points, or 0.11 per cent, to 6,016.15, after touching the day's low of 5,981.55.
"For the week, Sensex is up about 2 per cent, thus beginning the new year on a strong note. Several mid-caps have done strongly in the week," said Sanjeev Zarbade, Vice President (PCG Research), Kotak Securities.
Traders said investor confidence was intact even as global markets remained under pressure after senior Federal Reserve officials reportedly expressed concerns over expansion of the bond buying plan.
Besides weak global trend, steep fall in base metal prices in the overseas markets put pressure on the market to some extent, traders said.
Globally, Asian stocks ended mixed. Key indices in China and Singapore closed with minor gains while those from Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan closed lower. The Japanese index soared 2.8 per cent.
European stocks were quoting slightly weak in their afternoon trading. The CAC was down by 0.18 per cent, the DAX by 0.09 per cent and the FTSE by 0.03 per cent.
Commenting on Indian markets, Kishor P Ostwal, CMD, CNI Research Ltd. Said, "Market opened weak but recovered later in the day to close nearly flat."
India's services sector expanded further in December, registering the fastest pace of growth in three months - driven by a sharp rise in new business orders, an HSBC survey today said. This data helped support sentiments, traders said.
In all, 16 out of 30 Sensex-based counters closed with gains while 13 others finished with losses. Tata Power held stable.
GAIL India was the top gainer with a rise of 1.90 per cent, followed by ONGC (1.79 pc), BHEL (1.76 pc), TCS (1.50 pc), Wipro (1.47 pc), ICICI Bank (0.87 pc), SBI (0.56 pc) and Infosys (0.51 pc).
However, Tata Steel declined by 1.91 per cent, followed by Sterlite Ind (1.64 pc), Jindal Steel (1.58 pc), Hindalco (1.34 pc), Tata Motors (0.79 pc), HDFC (0.77 pc) and L&T (0.58 pc).
From sectoral indices, the BSE-Oil&Gas firmed up by 1.05 per cent, BSE-PSU by 1.02 per cent and BSE-IT by 0.95 per cent, while BSE-Metal dipped by 1.01 per cent.
Total market breadth remained positive with 1,521 stocks gaining while 1,435 finished with losses. Total turnover was at Rs 2,591.49 crore from Rs 2,688.83 crore yesterday.
Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) injected Rs 1,397.38 crore yesterday as per provisional data with stock exchanges.
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