Sensex, Nifty end at record closing high; blue chips gain

By Indulal PM
People watch a large screen displaying India's benchmark share index on the facade of BSE building in Mumbai
People watch a large screen displaying benchmark share index on the facade of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai December 9, 2013. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal/Files

By Indulal PM

MUMBAI (Reuters) - The BSE Sensex and Nifty surged on Monday to record highs as blue chips such as Coal India and Larsen & Toubro continued to rally on hopes of wide-ranging reforms by the new Narendra Modi government.

Foreign institutional investors bought a net 12.83 billion rupees ($217.1 million) worth of shares on Friday, a sixth consecutive session of buying that brought their total so far this year to $8.5 billion, according to exchange and regulatory data.

Expectations of reforms and optimism about a recovery in the domestic economy have sent domestic shares up 21.4 percent so far this year, outperforming a 5 percent gain in the broader MSCI Asia-Pacific index excluding Japan.

"It's a strong bull run what we are seeing now. Union budget would be the next key event, but that would not be more than a financial statement," said Jagannadham Thunuguntla, chief strategist at SMC Global Securities.

"What the market is expecting is a key decision making process and early signs show that the (government's) direction is right. Unless something dramatic happens, the market is set for further upmove," said Thunuguntla.

The Sensex rose as much as 0.98 percent to hit a record high of 25,644.77, surpassing the highest level posted on Friday. The index closed 0.72 percent higher at 25,580.21.

The Nifty gained as much as 1.2 percent to hit an all-time high of 7,673.70. The index closed up 0.94 percent at 7,654.60.

Shares in Larsen & Toubro (L&T) closed 3.6 percent higher, gaining for the sixth straight session as investors hope that the new government's reform agenda would mainly focus on infrastructure sector, where L&T is a major player.

The stock has gained 63.7 percent so far this year.

Shares in Bajaj Auto Ltd jumped 5.5 percent, the highest single-day rise since Aug. 30, 2013, while Coal India Ltd gained 5.8 percent to 413.20 rupees.

Fertilizer stocks rallied after government official told Reuters that India plans to raise the price of urea, the fertiliser most used by its farmers, by at least 10 percent.

Shares in Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd gained 5.5 percent, while Chambal Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd rose 9.4 percent.

Among other gainers, real estate stocks rose, with BSE realty index closing 6.01 percent higher. Shares in DLF Ltd ended 3.5 percent higher, while Unitech Ltd gained 17.03 percent.

Oil and Natural Gas Corp was among the laggards, losing 2.7 percent as investors preferred to take profit after the stock jumped 12.1 percent to hit an all-time high.

Shares in Infosys continued to be under pressure. The stock closed 0.6 percent adding to its 1.3 percent fall on Friday on concerns after some key resignations.

(Editing by Anand Basu)