The Indian equity benchmarks scaled new highs for third session in a row on Thursday as investor sentiment got a boost after government announced production linked incentive for auto sector and a relief package for telecom cash strapped telecom sector. The Sensex rose as much as 481 points to hit record high of 59,204.29 and Nifty 50 index climbed above 17,600 mark for the first time. ITC, Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank, State Bank of India, HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank were among the top movers in the Sensex.
The Sensex rose 418 points to close at record high of 59,141.16 and Nifty 50 index advanced 110 points to close at an all-time high of 17,629.
"We saw heavy buying in banking and other financial stocks. Technically, the index has formed a robust breakout continuation formation and the short-term trend is extremely strong. For the day traders, 17,540-17,580 levels would be the key support levels to watch out for. Above the same, the uptrend formation will continue up to 17,690-17,750 levels. On the flipside, Nifty would be vulnerable if it slips below 17,540," said Shrikant Chouhan, executive vice president, equity technical research at Kotak Securities.
Strong buying interest was visible in banking, financial services and FMCG shares. Ten of 15 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange ended higher led by the Nifty PSU Bank Index's over 5 per cent gain. Nifty Private Bank, Bank, FMCG and Telecom indices also rose between 1-2.5 per cent.
On the other hand, Media, IT and Metal indices closed lower.
Mid- and small-cap shares underperformed their larger peers as Nifty Midcap 100 index rose 0.36 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index advanced 0.2 per cent.
Vodafone Idea rallied as much as 28 per cent to hit an intraday high of Rs 11.47 a day after the government announced relief measures for the cash-strapped telecom sector. The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a four-year moratorium on pending adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues of telecom operators, a move that will provide much-needed relief to the likes of Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel.
IndusInd Bank was top Nifty gainer, the stock rose 7.3 per cent to close at Rs 1,053.95 as the bank has sizeable exposure to Vodafone Idea.
ITC rallied the most in 18 months on the back of heavy trading volumes, the stock jumped over 6 per cent to close at Rs 230. State Bank of India, Reliance Industries, Indian Oil, Kotak Mahindra Bank, ICICI Bank, Hero MotoCorp, Bharat Petroleum and Axis Bank also rose between 1.5-4.8 per cent.
On the flipside, Grasim Industries, Bharti Airtel, TCS, Shree Cement, Tata Steel, Tech Mahindra, UPL, JSW Steel, Dr Reddy's Labs and Wipro were among the losers.
The overall market breadth was neutral as 1,678 shares ended higher while 1,591 closed lower on the BSE.