Domestic stock markets surged in afternoon trade on Wednesday as buying picked up in energy and financial stocks. The S&P BSE Sensex jumped as much as 530.47 points to touch an intraday high of 39,095.35, and the NSE Nifty moved to 11,740.85, up 164.9 points from the previous close. Strong buying interest in banking, financial services, IT and energy stocks in afternoon deals pushed the benchmark equity indexes higher. However, selling in auto stocks kept the upside in check.
At 2:57 pm, the Sensex traded 376.59 points higher at 38,941.47 while the Nifty was up 119.30 points at 11,695.25. Top gainers on the 50-scrip index at the time were Bharat Petroleum, UltraTech Cement, ONGC, Indian Oil, HCL Tech and Yes Bank, trading between 2.62 per cent and 3.81 per cent higher.
Reliance Industries and HDFC Bank were the top contributors to the advances on Sensex.
Analysts expect volatility to continue in the domestic equity markets going forward.
"With 50 per cent of polling now behind, market participants are possibly taking a speculative bet on the outcome of the elections," AK Prabhakar, head of research at IDBI Capital, told NDTV.
Oil & gas shares such as Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and ONGC jumped as crude oil prices eased from 2019 highs.
Brent crude futures - the international benchmark for crude oil - were at $74.21 per barrel at 12:05 pm, down 30 cents from their last close. Brent crude has risen 12.8 per cent since March.
Crude futures rose to 2019 highs earlier during the week after the US said it would end all exemptions for sanctions against Iran, demanding countries halt oil imports from Tehran from May or face punitive action from Washington.
"Market participants are now cautious due to election uncertainty and oil prices," news agency quoted Saurabh Jain, AVP research, SMC Global Securities, as saying in a report.
"Earlier, they were pricing in a BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) victory, but the voting turnout looks to be lesser than expected. Secondly, FII (foreign institutional investors) inflows have also dipped this month compared to last month," he said, adding that market will now move according to how corporate results pan out.
As of Tuesday, about 66 per cent of those eligible had voted by the end of the day, in the third and largest phase of a staggered general election that will go on till May 19, according to news agency Reuters.
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