Indian equity market kicked off 2019 on a resounding note, with benchmark Sensex closing with 186 points gain Tuesday led by a rally in banking stocks following the Reserve Bank's comments that the banking sector is on a recovery path amid receding impaired assets load.
Besides financials, shares of telecom, IT, auto and pharma were in demand.
Leading the Sensex chart, Bharti Airtel shares rose 2.76 per cent, followed by HDFC (2.01 per cent) and Yes Bank (1.38 per cent).
Other gainers in the Sensex pack were HDFC Bank, SBI, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, Infosys, Hero Motocorp, Tata Motors, SunPharma, Bajaj Finance, TCS, PowerGrid, ITC, Bajaj Auto, Maruti, Coal India, Larsen & Toubro and RIL -- rising as much as 1.3 per cent.
Among the losers were Mahindra and Mahindra, Tata Steel, ONGC, HUL, IndusInd Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, NTPC, Asian Paints, Vedanta, HCL Tech -- falling as much as 3.75 per cent.
Analysts attributed the rise in banking stocks to the Reserve Bank Governor Shaktikanta Das' statement that the banking sector is on "course to recovery" as the afflicting non-performing assets recede.
The asset quality of banks showed improvement with gross non-performing assets' (GNPAs) ratio declining to 10.8 per cent in September 2018 from 11.5 per cent in March 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said in its Financial Stability Report Monday.
Capping off 2018 on a high note, both Sensex and Nifty clocked gains for the third straight year in a row amid positive cues from global markets and strengthening rupee. On an annual basis, the Sensex rose 2,011 points, or 5.9 per cent, in 2018; while the Nifty climbed 332 points, or 3.2 per cent, for the year.
"On the New Year day, bulls staged a strong comeback after witnessing early fall on Indian indices. Nifty managed to close above 10,900 levels led by financials despite lack of global triggers. Auto sales numbers for December month announced so far came on mixed note. With Corporate earnings to start from next week, liquidity and sentiment are set to drive market in short term," Hemang Jani, Head - Advisory, Sharekhan by BNP Paribas, said.
He further said that volatility is likely to continue in 2019 amid trade war worries, slowdown in global economy along with uncertainties related to crude oil prices, currency and upcoming general elections.
Continuing uptrend, the Indian rupee closed 34 paise higher at 69.43 against the US dollar. The domestic currency Monday ended the last trading session of 2018 with 18 paise gains at 69.77 per dollar.
It, however, clocked a 9.23 per cent loss during the year, marking 2018 as one of its tumultuous years in the recent past.
Most bourses globally are closed Tuesday on account of the New Year.