The Indian equity benchmarks recorded yet another session of record highs and extended Budget-day rally to fourth session on Thursday led by gains in ITC, State Bank of India, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Bajaj Finance and Mahindra & Mahindra. The Sensex rose as much as 432 points to hit record high of 50,687.51 and Nifty 50 index rose to an all-time high of 14,913.70. Since the presentation of Budget on February 1, Sensex has rallied 9.5 per cent and Nifty 50 index has climbed 9.38 per cent on government's proposals to invest record amount in infrastructure development to revive the pandemic-hit economy.
The Sensex ended 0.71 per cent or 358.54 points higher at 50,614.29 and Nifty 50 index advanced 0.71 per cent or 106 points to settle at 14,896.
The benchmarks opened lower and recovered from intraday lows owing to buying in banking and financial services shares as traders resorted to buying at lower levels ahead of weekly expiry of index futures and option contracts, analysts said.
All the 11 sector gauges, barring the index of IT shares, ended higher led by the Nifty PSU Bank index's nearly 6 per cent gain. FMCG, media, realty, banking, auto and financial service indexes also rose between 1-2.5 per cent.
Mid- and small-cap shares outperformed their larger peers as Nifty Midcap 100 index rose 1 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index rallied 1.5 per cent.
State Bank of India was top Nifty gainer, the stock rose 6.55 per cent to close at Rs 358 after it reported its December quarter earnings. The bank's provisioning for bad loans fell sharply by 72 per cent in December quarter as the bank provided Rs 2,290 crore compared with provisioning of Rs 8,193 crore in the same quarter last year.
ITC climbed 6 per cent to hit fresh 52-week higher of Rs 231 on the back of heavy volumes as 51.82 lakh shares changed hands on the BSE compared with an average of 20 lakh shares traded daily in the past two weeks.
Bajaj Finance, Shree Cements, ONGC, Coal India, Mahindra & Mahindra, Kotak Mahindra Bank, NTPC and Hindalco also rose between 2-5 per cent.
On the flipside, Asian Paints, UPL, Cipla, IndusInd Bank, Bharti Airtel, Tata Motors, Tech Mahindra, HDFC Life and Titan were among the losers.
The overall market breadth was positive as 1,857 shares ended higher while 1,123 closed lower on the BSE.