Indian shares eked out marginal gains on Thursday as two-wheeler manufacturers advanced on bets stronger monsoon rains would boost farm incomes, helping spur demand for motorcycles and scooters in rural markets.
The BSE Mid-Cap index rose 0.05 per cent, outperforming the Sensex. "The merger of cement majors has been taken positively by investors and supported market sentiment", said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
The wider 51-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) provisionally closed at 9,422.40 points - up 15.10 points or 0.16 per cent.
Indian share benchmarks hit record intra-day highs and closed nearly flat on Thursday, shade higher than Wednesday, as investors booked profits amid a choppy trading session.
The Sensex closed up 2.81 points at 30250.98, while the Nifty ended higher by 15.10 points at 9422.40. Also, the Nifty metal gained for third consecutive day. Investors also cheered centrist Emmanuel Macron's victory over anti-EU Marine Le Pen in France's presidential election, which influenced sentiment.
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The Indian rupee strengthened by 24-25 paise to 64.38 per U.S. dollar from its previous close of 64.62-63.
"But profit booking towards the end of session dragged the stocks off their session highs".
However, the point of worry was foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) who sold stocks worth Rs 363.98 crore, as per provisional data. "European indices like FTSE 100 and DAX now traded in the positive trend and CAC 40 traded lower".
"IT sector stocks witnessed strong buying led by NIITtech and TechM". It was followed by Spicejet (5.85 million), Jaiprakash Associates (4.60 million) and Basant Agro Tech (India) (2.47 million). The BSE Small-Cap index fell 0.05 per cent. ONGC, Cipla, Axis Bank, ITC, Adani Ports, State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Dr Reddy's Laboratories and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries are up 0.5% - 1%.
Bharti Airtel was the biggest gainer in the Sensex pack, surging 7.87 per cent to Rs372.70 even as the company reported its lowest quarterly profit in four years for the January-March period.