Extending the winning run to eighth straight day, Sensex on Thursday ended at a new peak of 26,271.85 and Nifty scaled 7,800 mark for the first time at close as FIIs continued to pour in money enthused by steps to attract overseas investment and encouraging corporate earnings.
Besides, positive cues from Asia after strong Chinese manufacturing data kept the sentiment on a firm footing although indices showed signs of profit-booking early on.
Metal, IT and FMCG counters were in demand while some of the consumer durable, pharma and power stocks saw investors taking some profit off the table, said traders.
Sensex-based shares like ITC, Infosys, RIL, HDFC Bank, Tata Steel, HUL, Hindalco and Wipro notched up handsome gains and kept the momentum on the positive side.
The benchmark BSE S&P 30-share Sensex moved in a narrow range and mostly in negative terrain till afternoon, but buying in the last session pushed up the Sensex by 124.52, or 0.48%, to end at 26,271.85. It also recorded intra-day high of 26,292.66. Both intra-day high and closing level values surpassed their previous peaks.
In eight days, its longest winning streak since September 2012, the gauge has now rallied 1,265 points. The Sensex has increased 24% this year so far, the best among major global markets, as FIIs have pumped USD 12 billion in shares.
Similarly, the 50-issue CNX Nifty of the NSE improved by 34.85 points, or 0.45%, to end above 7,800-mark for the first time in the history at 7,830.60. It registered new intra-trade peak of 7,835.65. In eight days, Nifty has rallied 376.45 points.
The Cabinet today gave go-ahead to FDI cap hike in insurance to 49%, paving way for inflow of as much as Rs. 25,000 crore foreign funds. Yesterday, the FII limit for investment in government securities was hiked by USD 5 billion within the total cap of USD 30 billion.
Besides, the government may soon take a decision on easing FDI in Railways and Defence sectors.
Foreign Portfolio Investors bought shares worth a net Rs. 652.40 crore yesterday as per provisional data from the stock exchanges. Jignesh Chaudhary, Head of Research, Veracity Broking Services said: "Positive sentiments in the global equities helped our local indices to trade strong. FIIs also continued to pour money into the market. In last three days, FIIs have bought shares worth of Rs. 1225 crore." Asian stocks finished mixed with upward bias today after a Chinese manufacturing gauge rose to its strongest reading in 18 months. Key benchmark indices in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan ended with gains while from Japan and South Korea settled with losses.
However, European markets were quoting higher in their late morning deals. The CAC was up by 0.76%, the DAX by 0.44% and the FTSE by 0.26%.
Twenty one scrips out of the 30-share Sensex pack ended higher while nine others closed lower.
Major gainers included Hindalco (2.30%), Tata Steel (2.18%), HUL (1.55%), Wipro (1.31%), ITC (1.09%), Infosys (0.93%) and Sesa Sterlite (0.93%).
However, Gail India fell by 2.04% and Dr Reddy's Lab 0.73% and Hero Motocorp 0.66%.
Among the S&P BSE sectoral indices, Metal rose by 1.47%, IT 0.90%, FMCG 0.86% and Teck 0.64% while Consumer Durables dropped by 0.93%.
Market breadth turned positive as 1,506 stocks ended in green, 1,453 finished in red while 126 ruled steady.
Total turnover moved up to Rs. 3,109.87 crore from Rs. 3,029.20 crore on Wednesday.