The benchmark equity indices continued their record-breaking spree with the Sensex closing above 18,600 points for the first time. While the benchmark Sensex of the Bombay Stock Exchange rose by 378 points, or 2.07 per cent, to close at 18,658 points, the 50-share Nifty of the National Stock Exchange gained 114 points, or 2 per cent, to end the day at 5,441 points.
The Sensex had jumped almost 800 points on Tuesday, the biggest-ever rise in absolute terms in a single day.
Market experts say the Sensex could hit 19,000 tomorrow if information technology bellwether Infosys Technologies, which is slated to announce its results on Thursday, springs a few surprises on the earnings front.
"The boom is on. The Sensex could touch 19,000 tomorrow as Infosys’ results are likely to beat street expectations," said Rajesh Jain, managing director of Pranav Securities, a Mumbai-based broking firm.
With foreign funds pouring money into Indian equities, the rupee hit a nine-and-half- year high against the dollar. The rupee rose to 39.32 per US dollar in early trade, its strongest level since March 1998, and later slipped slightly as the central bank stepped in and bought dollars. The rupee ended at 39.31 against the dollar.
Wednesday's rally was led by construction major Larsen & Toubro, up 6.6 per cent at Rs 3,372. Other top gainers included aluminum firm Hindalco Industries Ltd, up 3.8 per cent at Rs 170, and cement company ACC, up 3.5 per cent at Rs 1,218. Technology stocks gained as well, with Infosys ending 3.7 per cent higher at Rs 2,124. Satyam Computer Services rose 2.9 per cent to Rs 484, Wipro gained 2.8 per cent to Rs 503, and Tata Consultancy Services advanced 2.6 per cent to Rs 1,125.