Key benchmark indices held firm in mid-morning trade. At 11:30 IST, the barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, was up 256.65 points or 0.87% at 29,670.31. The Nifty 50 index was up 71.90 points or 0.79% at 9,211.20. Gains in ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Reliance Industries boosted sentiment on domestic bourses.
After seeing a gap-up opening, the key benchmark indices extended gains and hit fresh intraday high in morning trade.
The broad market depicted strength. There were over two gainers against every loser on BSE. On the BSE, 1,751 shares rose and 770 shares fell. A total of 130 shares were unchanged.
Capital goods rose.
Bharat Heavy Electricals (Bhel) (up 2.26%), BEML (up 0.32%), ABB India (up 0.92%), Bharat Electronics (up 1.64%), L&T (up 0.57%), Punj Lloyd (up 1.51%), Siemens (up 1.95%) and Thermax (up 0.34%) rose.
Cement stocks gained. ACC (up 0.7%), UltraTech Cement (up 0.47%) and Shree Cement (up 0.28%) gained. Ambuja Cements (down 0.26%) fell.
Grasim Industries was up 0.79%. Grasim has exposure to the cement sector through its holding in UltraTech Cement.
On the macro front, India Meteorological Department (IMD) will announce its first long range forecast for 2017 southwest monsoon, today, 18 April 2017. The June-September southwest monsoon is critical for the country's agriculture because a considerable part of the country's farmland is dependent on the rains for irrigation.
Overseas, most Asian stocks were trading higher as a strong post-Easter finish on Wall Street provided upward momentum. US stocks rose the most in six weeks yesterday, 17 April 2017 as investors turned their attention to first-quarter corporate earnings.
Geopolitical tensions, notably those between the US and North Korea, have heightened worries about aggressions escalating into a nuclear confrontation. Over the weekend, North Korea put on a massive military parade, followed by a failed missile launch. In an unannounced visit to the Korean Peninsula's demilitarized zone, US Vice President Mike Pence yesterday, 17 April 2017 warned North Korea not to test the resolve of President Donald Trump or the military strength of the US.
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