Benchmark share indices gained momentum in the latter half of the trading session to end nearly 1% higher amid renewed buying interest in defensives led by Sun Pharmaceutical. Further, the street is expecting the central bank to maintain status quo on key rates at its policy meet tomorrow.
The 30-share Sensex ended up 244 points at 28,504 and the 50-share Nifty gained 74 points to end at 8,660.
"While pharma shares continue to rally FMCG shares have witnessed renewed buying interest because of attractive valuations. Further, investors can selectively buy mid-cap private banks," said Yogesh Nagaonkar, VP-Institutional Equities at Bonanza Portfolio adding that the central bank is expected to keep key rates unchanged.
Further, foreign institutional investors were net buyers in equities to the tune of Rs 210 crore on Wednesday. Markets were closed on Thursday on account of Mahavir Jayanti and the following day on account of Good Friday.
The Indian rupee was trading higher 62.20 to the US dollar compared to Tuesday's close of 62.50.
Meanwhile, a private survey showed that India's services PMI eased a bit during March because of higher input costs even as new business orders showed improvement.
The HSBC India Services Business Activity Index for March came in slightly lower at 53.0 compared with 53.9 in the previous month.
LEADERS & LAGGARDS
All sectoral indices on the BSE except Metal and Bankex ended in the green led by BSE Healthcare index up 5% followed by FMCG, Consumer Durables, Auto, Oil and Gas among others. The Metal index ended down 0.5% and Bankex ended down 0.06%.
Consumer Durables firmed up on expectations that the government will move the GST Constitutional Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha soon. From the consumer durables pack, PC Jeweller, TTK Prestige, Titan, Bajaj Electricals, Whirlpool ended higher between 0.5-4%.
FMCG major ITC and Hindustan Unilever ended up over 2.5% each on renewed buying interest amid attractive valuations.
Sun Pharma ended as the top Sensex gainer up 8% following the completion of the merger of Ranbaxy Laboratories with itself. Further, trading was suspended in Ranbaxy Labs following the merger process.
Dr Reddy's Labs ended up 4.5% after local brokerage Karvy raised the price target by 5.8% to Rs 3,915 rupees with a 'buy' rating. Cipla gained 3.7%.
NTPC ended up 2.7% amid reports that the country's largest power producer will more than double its current installed capacity to 90,000 MW in the next ten years.
India Infra Fund II will acquire 23.5 per cent stake in ONGC Tripura Power Company for a total consideration of Rs 426 crore. The stock gained 3.7%.
Mahindra and Mahindra’s (M&M) South Korean subsidiary SsangYong Motor has sold a total of 12,870 units in March 2015 - 7,719 units in domestic sales and 5,151 in exports. The stock ended 2.7% higher.
Banking stocks are trading mixed after recent polls forecasted that the central bank would maintain status quo on interest rates due to unseasonal rainfall which has destroyed crops and is likely to put pressure on the inflation. HDFC, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank ended down 0.2-0.5% each.
However, SBI ended up 0.6% after the state-owned bank raised capital by allotting 10.04 crore shares on preferential basis to Government of India at Rs 295.59 per equity share.
Bajaj Auto’s bike sales were down by 22 per cent in March 2015 to stand at around 2.1 lakh units versus 2.7 lakh units in the same month of 2014. The stock ended up 0.6%.
IT majors ended mixed amid weak US economic data after lower-than-expected jobs were added at 126,000 in March. The job additions were the smallest increase since December 2013. Infosys and TCS ended marginally up while Wipro ended down 1.6%.
Coal India ended down 0.7% after it missed the production target for the financial year 2014-15 by 3 per cent recording an output of 494.23 million tonnes. Coal India's output target was 507 million tonnes.
In the broader market, BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices ended up 1-1.4% each.
The market breadth ended strong on the BSE with 1,808 gainers versus 923 losers.