The Indian equity benchmarks surged on Wednesday ahead of presentation of Union Budget 2023-24 by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The Sensex rose as much as 517 points and Nifty 50 index briefly reclaimed its important psychological level of 17,800.
Index heavyweights like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, HDFC, Reliance Industries, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Infosys and State Bank of India were among the top movers in the Sensex.
As of 9:19 am, the Sensex was up 375 points at 59,924 and Nifty 50 index climbed 116 points to 17,778.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will have to do a tight-rope walk between staying fiscally prudent and general public expectations of lower taxes and a wider social security net, while at the same time firing the engines of the economy before general elections.
Sitharaman will present her fifth straight budget at a time when the economy is slowing due to global headwinds and specific sectors need attention.
In the run-up to the Budget presentation, expectations are rife that she may tweak income-tax slabs to provide relief to the middle class and increase spending on the poor through programmes such as the rural job scheme while ramping up financial incentives for local manufacturing.
But all this she has to do while staying on the course of the fiscal consolidation path.
Meanwhile, buying was visible across sectors as all the 15 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange were trading higher led by the Nifty Realty index's 1.4 per cent gain. Nifty Financial Services, Bank, Media, Metal, PSU Bank, Private Bank and Consumer Durable indices also rose between 0.8-1 per cent.
Mid- and small-cap shares were also witnessing buying interest as Nifty Midcap 100 and Nifty Smallcap 100 indices rose over 1 per cent each.
Britannia Industries was top Nifty gainer, the stock rose nearly 3 per cent to Rs 4,438 ahead of its December quarter earnings.
ICICI Bank, Hindalco, Divi's Labs, Hero MotoCorp, JSW Steel, Eicher Motors, Tech Mahindra and HDFC also rose between 1-2.3 per cent.
On the other hand, Sun Pharma, Bharat Petroleum, Adani Enterprises, Mahindra & Mahindra and ITC were among the notable losers.
The overall market breadth was extremely positive as 2,160 shares were advancing while 589 were declining on the BSE.