Domestic share markets clocked fresh record highs on Thursday as investors remained optimistic on COVID-19 vaccines and a fast global recovery after months of pandemic-caused slowdown. The S&P BSE Sensex index jumped 326.11 points, or 0.70 per cent, to touch 46,992.57 at the strongest level of the day, and the broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark added 90.55 points, or 0.66 per cent, to 13,773.25 -- both all-time highs. Gains in financial and pharmaceutical shares supported the gains, however losses in metal shares limited the upside. (Track Sensex, Nifty Here)
The Sensex ended 223.88 points, or 0.48 per cent, higher at 46,890.34 while the Nifty settled at 13,740.70, up 58.00 points, or 0.42 per cent, from its previous close. Those were the highest closing levels for both indices.
Divi's Laboratories, HDFC, Bajaj Finance, HDFC Bank and IndusInd Bank, ending between 1.75 per cent and 3.02 per cent higher, were the top percentage gainers in the Nifty basket of 50 shares.
On the other hand, Hindalco, Coal India, Maruti Suzuki, Adani Ports and Tata Steel, down 1.42-2.17 per cent each, were the worst hit among 34 laggards in the index. (Also Read: Stocks To Watch Today)
HDFC, HDFC Bank and Bajaj Finance were the top boosts for Sensex, whereas HUL and Infosys were the largest drags.
Overall market breadth was mildly negative, as 1,385 shares ended higher on the BSE against 1,585 that succumbed to losses. On the NSE, 846 shares rose whereas 1,068 fell.
Analysts say the current liquidity-driven rally backed by optimism on the COVID-19 recovery front is likely to continue going forward.
"The markets have further positive expectations on upcoming other events like fiscal and monetary package in the US, Brexit, vaccination, India budget and high double-digit earnings growth in 2021," Vinod Nair, head of research at Kochi-based Geojit Financial Services, told NDTV.
Most sugar stocks gained, a day after the Cabinet approved a subsidy of Rs 3,500 crore to encourage sugar exports. Balrampur Chini Mills, Dhampur Sugar Mills and Rana Sugars ended between 0.62 per cent and 2.89 per cent higher.
Hero MotoCorp shares finished the session 0.19 per cent lower after the auto maker — the country's largest two-wheeler manufacturer by sales — said that it would be increasing prices of its products from January.
"Of course, due to high gains from the ongoing rally, leading to supreme high levels, has increased the vulnerability of the markets due to a low margin of error. Still, we do not expect a big correction rather than a consolidation in the short term, of not more than 10 per cent in main indices," Geojit's Mr Nair added.
Equity markets across Asia hovered near record highs amid hopes of more fiscal stimulus in the US. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.30 per cent to an all-time high. Japan's Nikkei 225 benchmark rose 0.20 per cent.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell vowed on Wednesday to keep pouring cash in to markets until the US economic recovery is secure.
US lawmakers edged closer to agreement on a $900 billion coronavirus-relief spending package on Wednesday with top Democrats and Republicans sounding more positive than they have in months about getting something done.
European share markets registered gains in early deals, with the Eurostoxx 50 benchmark index up 0.44 per cent at the last count.
Brent crude oil futures — a proxy for global energy consumption and growth — were last up 0.37 per cent to $51.27 per barrel, having risen to a nine-month high of $51.90 per barrel earlier on Thursday.
(With inputs from agencies)