The benchmark Sensex failed to go the distance on the first day of 2016 as it rose a modest 43 points to close at 26,160.90 on Friday, a one-month high, helped by select auto, capital goods and realty stocks.
For the week, both indices - the Sensex and the Nifty -ended 1.25% and 1.30% higher, their third straight weekly gains.
The 30-share barometer started on a weaker note, but ended higher by 43.36 points, or 0.17%, at 26,160.90 -- its highest closing since December 1.
The 50-share Nifty was up 16.85 points, or 0.21%, to close at 7,963.20 -- a level last seen on November 4 last year. It shuttled between 7,909.80 and 7,972.55 intra-day.
The gauge had gained 157.51 points mainly on the back of covering-up of short positions by speculators.
Most international markets were closed for the New year.
The near-absence of overseas cues meant investors remained directionless despite the start of the January derivatives contracts.
“With major Asian markets shut for New Year celebrations, Indian markets started the day without any opening bias, and the push above recent ranges prompted short covering,” said Anand James, Co Head Technical Research Desk, Geojit BNP Paribas.
Tata Motors was on the top of the heap, up 2.66%, followed by Adani Ports (2.65%).
Investors also lapped up second-line stocks, with mid-cap and small-cap indices outperforming the Sensex with gains of 0.92% and 0.88%, respectively.
In the auto space, the country’s largest car-maker Maruti Suzuki advanced 0.43% after it posted an 8.5% increase in total sales in December.
Others such as Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland and Eicher Motors too ended in the positive terrain.
Aviation stocks were in demand following a sharp 10% cut in aviation turbine fuel (ATF) prices by oil marketing companies as crude oil prices continue to remain soft.
SpiceJet and InterGlobe Aviation, which operates budget airline IndiGo, jumped up to 8.73% and so did Jet Airways (up 8.28%), which got further support from its inclusion in the futures and options (F&O) segment from Friday.
The BSE realty index gained most by surging 1.99%, followed by capital goods (1.01%), auto (0.93%), power (0.89%), PSU (0.83%), metal (0.65%) and banking (0.62%), among others.
Meanwhile, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) net bought shares worth Rs 1,123.41 crore on Thursday.
Going forward, investors are waiting for the second week of January to get a fix on how corporate earnings numbers play out.
Pramit Brahmbhatt, CEO, Veracity Group, said, “Today’s upmove was on the back of across-the-board buying, barring IT stocks.”
In the Sensex pack, 16 closed in the green while 13 fell.
“All eyes would now be on economic data from both the US as well as India, as both Fed and RBI are scheduled to announce their monetary policy in a month,” added James.
The market breadth turned positive as out of a total 2,951 stocks, 1,990 ended higher and 834 lower while 127 ruled flat.
The total turnover climbed further to Rs 2,984.79 crore, from Rs 2,745.62 crore on Thursday.