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Markets end firm led by autos

By Abhishek Vasudev
April 19, 2012 16:31 IST
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BSEThe markets ended marginally higher on Thursday, amid firm European cues, led by gains in auto shares on hopes that lower interest rates would boost sales.

The Sensex ended higher by 111 points at 17,504 and the S&P CNX Nifty gained 32 points to close at 5,332 levels.

The Sensex traded in a range of 70 points in today's session.

The European markets have opened higher.

The CAC-40 index is up 1% at 3,272 levels, DAX has jumped 0.7% to 6,778 and the FTSE is up 0.4% at 5,769 levels.

The Asian markets ended on a mixed note. The Nikkei slipped 79 points to close at 9,588 levels, Shanghai slipped marginally to shut shop at 2,378. However, Hang Seng and Taiwan ended higher in trades today.

Back home, Tata Motors was among the top Sensex gainer, the stocks ended higher by 3.15% at Rs 319 (near its lifetime high price) after the India's largest automobile company has entered the elite club of companies with Rs one trillion market value on the back of strong global sales for the month of March, joining Reliance Industries, ONGC, Coal India and TCS.

Maruti Suzuki, Hero MotoCorp, Mahindra & Mahidra and Bajaj Auto from the auto space were also among the top gainers.

These stocks gained on hopes that the banks will cut the interest rates going ahead, a measure that will boost the sales of these companies.

Coal India, HDFC Bank,Tata Power, Sun Pharma, Infosys and ITC were also among the top gainers

on the Sensex.

While on the other hand, BHEL, Hindalco, Gail India, Wipro, Reliance Industries, SBI, L&T and ICICI Bank were among the notable laggards.

Led by the gains in the auto stocks, the BSE Auto index closed at 10,745 levels, up 2% or 215 points.

Healthcare, FMCG, Metal, IT, Bankex, Teck and PSU indices also ended higher by 0.2-1.2% each.

At the same time, Capital Goods, Power, Oil & Gas, Consumer Durables and Realty indices were among the losers on the sectoral front.

Shares of tea manufacturing companies were in focus on reports that UK-based Camellia Plc, which owns a 74% stake in tea major Goodricke Group, said it was 'very interested' in buying out tea gardens in Assam to expand its business of the brew in India.

ACC ended lower by 4% at Rs 1,247, declining more than 6% from day's high, after reporting a sharpest 55% year-on-year (y-o-y) drop in consolidated net profit at Rs 151 crore on account one-time depreciation charges of Rs 335 crore for the first quarter ended March 2012.

However, consolidated sales grew 20% at Rs 2,860 crore on y-o-y basis.

Seshasayee Paper and Boards zoomed 5% to Rs 205 after its board approved the scheme of amalgamation for the amalgamation of M/s SPB Papers Ltd with the company.

The broader markets ended on a flat note. The mid-cap index ended higher by 16 points at 6,480 levels and the small-cap index advanced 18 points to 6,933 levels.

The overall breadth was neutral as 1,492 stocks advanced while 1,394 stocks declined.

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Abhishek Vasudev in New Delhi
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