Mumbai (IANS) - Indian equity markets on March 6 surged to new closing-high levels in the last 24 months as investors' sentiments were buoyed after a major breakthrough was achieved on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) legislation.
Besides, inflows of foreign funds and a strong rupee pushed the indices higher. The key indices closed with gains of more than half a% each to touch new closing highs since March 3, 2015. The wider 51-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) gained 65.90 points, or 0.74%, to 8,963.45 points.
The barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 28,859.21 points, closed at 29,048.19 points -- up 215.74 points or 0.75% from the previous close at 28,832.45 points.
The Sensex touched a high of 29,070.20 points and a low of 28,856.12 points during the intra-day trade. The BSE market breadth was tilted in favour of the bulls - with 1,511 advances and 1,371 declines. In terms of the broader markets, the BSE mid-cap index rose by 0.57% and the small-cap index was up by 0.37%.
The NSE Nifty closed a tad lower by 2.20 points or 0.02% at 8,897.55 points, and the barometer BSE Sensex was down 7.34 points or 0.03% at 28,832.45 points.
"Markets have begun the week on a positive note as they surged sharply higher to close with healthy gains. Both the Nifty and the Sensex closed at highs not seen since March 2015," Deepak Jasani, Head - Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS. "Major Asian markets have ended on a positive note, barring the Nikkei and Straits Times, whereas the European indices like FTSE 100, DAX and CAC 40 traded lower."
Market observers pointed out that investors' sentiments were upbeat following major developments around the GST.
The GST Council approved the central cGST (cGST) and integrated GST (iGST) draft laws on March 4.
Anand James, Chief Market Strategist, Geojit Financial Services, said: "Approval of cGST and iGST, and expectations of results being favour of ruling party helped markets off to a positive start for the week. Rise in the VIX (India Volatility Index) was also suggestive towards attempts to shrug off last previous week's bearishness."
"A flurry of central bank meetings awaits markets, but for the time being, underlying domestic cues remain in focus," James said. In addition, the Indian rupee appreciated by nine paise to 66.72 against a US dollar from its previous close of 66.81 to a greenback.
In terms of investments, the provisional data with exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors (FIIs) purchased stocks worth Rs 564.15 crore, whereas the domestic institutional investors (DIIs) divested scrip worth Rs 481.96 crore. Commenting on the sector-specific movement, Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls, said: "Banking, pharma, auto, oil-gas, textile and aviation stocks traded in the positive territory."
"The FMCG, cement and power sector stocks also traded with firm sentiments. Most sector-based stocks witnessed healthy recovery from lower levels in second half of the session."
Sector-wise, the S&P BSE automobile index augmented by 266.52 points, followed by the banking index, which edged higher by 204.93 points, and the oil and gas index, which increased by 176.89 points. On the other hand, the S&P BSE IT index slipped by 20.27 points and the consumer durables index inched down by 3.07 points.
Major Sensex gainers were: Reliance Industries, up 3.69% at Rs 1,304.90; Adani Ports, up 2.48% at Rs 303.55; Tata Motors, up 2.30% at Rs 470.70; Bharti Airtel, up 1.81% at Rs 362.05; and State Bank of India (SBI), up 1.79% at Rs 269.90. Major Sensex losers were: Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), down 0.87% at Rs 2,470.65; Hindustan Unilever (HUL), down 0.70% at Rs 871; Dr Reddy's Lab, down 0.49% at Rs 2,858.25; HDFC, down 0.44% at Rs 1,365.25; and Tata Steel, down 0.41% at Rs 492.95.