The NSE Nifty defied gravity for the seventh straight session to close at its fresh lifetime high on Monday as a steady decline in daily COVID-19 cases bolstered investor sentiment amid mixed global cues. Market heavyweights Reliance Industries, HDFC twins and ICIC Bank witnessed robust buying ahead of GDP data. Rising for the fourth day, the 30-share BSE Sensex ended 514.56 points or 1% higher at 51,937.44 -- around 200 points shy of its closing record hit on February 15 this year. The broader NSE Nifty surged 147.15 points or 0.95 per cent to 15,582.80, closing at a record high for the third consecutive session.
Reliance Industries was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, surging 3.13%, followed by ICICI Bank, Bharti Airtel, Dr Reddy's, Maruti, ITC, NTPC and Axis Bank. On the other hand, M&M, Infosys, L&T, IndusInd Bank, Tech Mahindra and Sun Pharma were among the laggards, skidding up to 4.53%. "Amidst mixed global trends, Indian equities registered gains ahead of Q4 GDP data which has a mixed forecast. But it is expected to be better for FY22 and increased optimism from declining COVID cases is helping the market
"The rise in heavyweights supported the rally and sectors like metal, private banks and energy witnessed maximum gains in anticipation of better economic growth," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.
India reported the lowest daily new coronavirus infections in 50 days with 1,52,734 cases, taking the tally to 2,80,47,534 on Monday, while the active caseload declined to 20,26,092, the Health Ministry said.
"After opening marginally in red, the benchmark drifted marginally lower in the early trades but healthy buying interest in select heavyweights triggered sharp recovery as the day progressed...
"Meanwhile, the last leg of earnings season is also expected to induce stock-specific volatility. Some states have announced relaxation in restrictions and we expect further easing in the coming weeks," said Ajit Mishra, VP - Research, Religare Broking.
Barring auto and IT, all BSE sectoral indices finished in the green, led by energy (up 2.46%), metal (2.25%), telecom (1.63%), and oil & gas (1.36%). In the broader markets, the BSE midcap and smallcap gauges climbed up to 0.50%. Global equities were mixed amid muted volumes as the US and UK markets were closed for a holiday.
Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai and Seoul ended on a positive note, while Hong Kong and Tokyo were in the red. Equities in Europe were trading on a mixed note in mid-session deals. Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude surged 1.08% to trade at $69.46 per barrel.
Halting its three-day winning run, the rupee on Monday declined by 17 paise to close at 72.62 against the US dollar, tracking the strengthening of the American currency in the overseas market.