The BSE Sensex hit an all-time high of 21,524.15 in intra-day trade on Thursday before closing at a record high of 21,502.62, 225 points above Wednesday’s close. The Sensex had hit its previous intra-day high of 21,483.74 points on December 9, 2013. The Nifty gained 73.40 points up 1.16% at 6,402.05 points.
Sensex finally ended at lifetime closing high of 21,513.87.
Analysts said this was in line with the trend seen before six previous general elections when the markets had gained in anticipation of a new government. Foreign investors, who have poured in close to $1 billion into Indian equities over the past three weeks, were active buyers on Thursday as well. India’s current account deficit narrowing to $4.9 billion or 0.9% of GDP in the third quarter of 2013-14 also buoyed sentiment.
The rally belied market expectations that FIIs would turn cautious ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in April-May and the formation of a new government at the Centre.
Banking stocks gained significantly. ICICI Bank was up 3.2%. Sensex heavyweight Reliance Industries was up 1.9%.
The BSE Realty Index (up 4.15%) and power index (up 2.51%) led the surge. All of the indices were up in trading bar healthcare (down 0.25%). Prestige Estates rose 13.36% and Reliance Infra was up 9.90 per cent, while pharma companies like Glaxo Smithkline (down 2.55%) and IPCA Labs (down 2.38%) were under pressure.
The market breath was positive with the shares of 1,697 companies trading positive, 1,014 companies share price falling and 231 unchanged.