Key benchmark indices extended early gains and hit fresh intraday high in morning trade. At 10:21 IST, the barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, was up 160.93 points or 0.47% at 34,262.06. The Nifty 50 index was up 43.15 points or 0.41% at 10,501.80. Strong gains in metal and pharma shares supported bourses. Nifty was trading above the 10,500 mark.
The key indices opened higher and firmed up further as the session progressed. The Sensex rose 167.02 points, or 0.49% at the day’s high of 34,268.15 in morning trade, its highest intraday level since 1 March 2018. The index rose 53.81 points, or 0.16% at the day’s low of 34,154.94 in early trade. The Nifty rose 46.65 points, or 0.45% at the day’s high of 10,505.30 in morning trade, its highest intraday level since 1 March 2018. The index rose 17.15 points, or 0.16% at the day’s low of 10,475.80 in early trade.
Among secondary barometers, the BSE Mid-Cap index was up 0.65%. The BSE Small-Cap index was up 0.62%. Both these indices outperformed the Sensex.
The broad market depicted strength. There were almost two gainers against every loser on BSE. 1,352 shares rose and 711 shares fell. A total of 115 shares were unchanged.
Metal shares were in demand. Hindalco Industries (up 1.83%), National Aluminium Company (up 1.77%), Steel Authority of India (up 1.42%), Vedanta (up 1.02%), NMDC (up 0.95%), Jindal Steel & Power (up 0.94%), JSW Steel (up 0.29%), Hindustan Copper (up 0.27%) and Tata Steel (up 0.12%), edged higher. Hindustan Zinc was down 0.03%.
Meanwhile, copper price edged higher in the global commodities markets. High Grade Copper for May 2018 delivery was currently up 0.18% at $3.069 per pound on the COMEX.
Pharmaceutical shares were trading higher. Aurobindo Pharma (up 2.17%), IPCA Laboratories (up 2.16%), Divi’s Laboratories (up 1.90%), Strides Shasun (up 1.72%), Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (up 1.67%), Piramal Enterprises (up 1.26%), Lupin (up 1.06%), Cipla (up 1.04%), Glenmark Pharmaceuticals (up 0.83%), Cadila Healthcare (up 0.67%), Sun Pharmaceutical Industries (up 0.64%), Wockhardt (up 0.4%) and Alkem Laboratories (up 0.35%), edged higher. GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals was down 0.11%.
On macro front, the all-India general consumer price index (CPI) inflation eased marginally to five-month low of 4.28% in March 2018, compared with 4.44% in February 2018.
India’s industrial production continued to record a healthy growth for the fourth straight month at 7.1% in February 2018 over February 2017. The manufacturing sector’s production surged 8.7% in February 2018, contributing to the overall growth in industrial production. However, the growth of electricity generation output moderated to 4.5%, while the mining output declined 0.3% in February 2018.
Overseas, Asian shares were mixed. US stocks closed sharply higher on Thursday, as geopolitical concerns appeared to fade after President Donald Trump tweeted that a military strike on Syria may not be imminent. Escalating tensions over the Middle Eastern country were seen as a major contributor to weakness in Wednesday’s session.