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Sensex hits 2-week high, Nifty tops 8,100 on F&O expiry

A sudden spurt in buying at the fag end of the trading lifted markets higher on Thursday as the Sensex rebounded over 155 points to end at almost two-week high of 26,366 as December derivatives contracts expired amid recovery in the rupee. The broader NSE Nifty too regained the key 8,100-mark.

The rupee strengthened by 18 paise against the dollar at 68.06 (intra-day), which helped sentiment improve.

Marked by volatility, the rally was supported by gains, mainly in consumer durables, oil and gas, metal, auto, power, IT and PSU stocks, which turned attractive at current levels after recent losses.

After shuttling between 26,429.41 and 26,166.67, the Sensex finally settled higher by 155.47 points, or 0.59%, at 26,366.15, its highest closing since December 19 when it closed at 26,374.70.

The index had shed 2.76 points in the previous session.

The broader Nifty ended higher by 68.75 points, or 0.86%, at 8,103.60 after trading between 8,111.10 and 8,020.80.

In typical thin year-end trade, buying amid the expiry of the December series of futures and options contracts — the last settlement of 2016 — supported the recovery.

Participants were seen carrying their long bets in futures and options (F&O) segment to the next series for January amid hopes of better returns in the new year, which accelerated the gains towards the fag end, they said.

Globally, other Asian markets closed mixed while European shares were in the negative mode early on following a lacklustre show of the Wall Street on Wednesday ahead of key US economic data. “Covering-up of short positions in view of F&O expiry, sustained buying by domestic institutional investors influenced market sentiment,” said Manoj Choraria, a Delhi-based NSE broker.

Concerns prevailed on continuous selling of shares by foreign institutional investors, which weighed on investor sentiment and limited the gains. Meanwhile, domestic institutional investors (DIIs) purchased shares worth Rs 824.84 crore on Wednesday, as per provisional data. Foreign portfolio investors net sold shares worth Rs 527.06 crore.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.17% while Japan’s Nikkei ended 1.32% lower. China’s Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.20%. European markets were down in their early deals as Frankfurt, Paris and London indices fell up to 0.32%.

Market heavyweights like NTPC surged 1.68%, Tata Motors 1.64%, Maruti Suzuki 1.56%, HDFC 1.55%, TCS 1.51%, RIL 1.21%, HDFC Bank 1.12% and Tata Steel 1.07%.

Stocks of Sun Pharma, Adani Ports, L&T, Infosys, GAIL, Power Grid, ICICI Bank and Dr Reddy’s came under some pressure and lost by up to 1.25. In the 30-share Sensex constituents, 22 ended higher

and 8 lower.

Sector-wise, the BSE consumer durable index gained the most by rising 1.67%, followed by oil & gas (1.56%), metal (1.44%), auto (1.34%), realty (1.14%) and PSU (1.12%).

The pace of buying also picked up in broader markets, lifting the BSE mid-cap index by 1.19% and small-cap index by 1.11%.