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SENSEX INCHES NEARER TO 30000

Markets rallied to record highs today, with the Sensex ending just below the 30,000-mark and the Nifty finishing at 9,265.15, fuelled by bluechips RIL and Maruti. Investors are in a wait-and-watch mode ahead of the RBI's first bi-monthly policy review for 2017-18 due tomorrow. The central bank is widely expected to hold rates, but there are hopes of more steps being announced to address growing NPAs and excess liquidity, traders said. The BSE 30-share index hit a high of 30,007.48 in intra-day trade, but slipped to 29,817.69 before settling at 29,974.24, up 64.02 points or 0.21 per cent. This surpassed its previous high of 29,910.22, recorded on April 3. The gauge had gained 289.72 points in the previous session on Monday amid sustained foreign capital inflows and a firming global trend. Similarly, the broader 50-issue NSE Nifty touched 9,273.90 points on sustained foreign fund inflows. However, due to profit-taking at record levels, it shed some ground to close at 9,265.15, up by 27.30 points or 0.30 per cent. It broke the previous record of 9,237.85 reached on April 3. The Monetary Policy Committee, headed by RBI Governor Urjit Patel, began its two-day meeting today. "With RBI meet underway, hopes of measures towards NPA resolution and excess liquidity extended banks' run, while other rate sensitive sectors also tagged along, helping indices to record peaks. "Firm rupee and immigration woes continue to bother IT companies, and international cues should weigh more in the week ahead in light of US jobs data and FOMC minutes release," said Anand James, Chief Market Strategist, Geojit Financial Services Ltd. Meanwhile, Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 534.45 crore on Monday, as per provisional data from the stock exchanges. Shares of index heavyweight Reliance Industries maintained its winning streak triggered by Jio prime membership offer, rising 3.19 per cent to close at a fresh nine-year high of Rs 1,414.90. Maruti Suzuki zoomed 4.40 per cent to end at an all-time high of Rs 6,339.40, while L&T surged 2.18 per cent to Rs 1,696.85 on reports of the company bagging huge orders. Among the sectoral indices, realty rose the most by surging 4.08 per cent, followed by consumer durables (2.41 per cent), capital goods (1.53 per cent), auto (1.09 per cent), metal (0.94 per cent) and oil and gas (0.72 per cent). Gainers among the 30 Sensex stocks were Adani Ports (4.50 per cent), HUL (1.82 per cent), Tata Steel (1.65 per cent), Axis Bank (up 1.54 per cent), Lupin (1.28 per cent), SBI (1.21 per cent), NTPC (1 per cent), Wipro (0.68 per cent), Bharti Airtel (0.67 per cent), Tata Motors (0.66 per cent) and M&M (0.37 per cent). The broader markets too remained extremely bullish, with several stocks hitting 52-week highs, lifting the small-cap index by 1.12 per cent and mid-cap index by 0.46 per cent. Brokers said investor sentiment remained upbeat after a monthly survey showed that manufacturing sector grew at its fastest pace in five months in March, marking the third straight month of expansion. Besides, strong FIIs inflows and the Lok Sabha clearing four GST legislations, paving the way for the rollout of the new indirect tax regime from July 1, added to the momentum. Globally, there was a firming trend at other Asian markets while the European shares rose in their late morning trade. Investors are awaiting minutes of the Federal Reserve's last interest-rate meeting and US jobs data. In the Asian region, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.57 per cent, Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.48 per cent and Japan's Nikkei ended 0.27 per cent higher. Among European markets, London's FTSE and Paris CAC rose by up to 0.23 per cent but Frankfurt's DAX was down 0.27 per cent.

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