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Sensex soars to 17-month high

With the festival of lights nearing, stock prices lit up investors’ faces ahead of Diwali, with a smart 204-point or 1.2% spurt by the BSE sensex. With this rise, the benchmark index has scaled a new 17-month high on the back of positivism injected by Asian indices and in anticipation of healthy corporate scorecard for the September quarter. The NSE nifty closed the day’s trading with a 1.3% gain.

Sectorally, metal stocks surged ahead. Sterlite rose 5.77%, while Hindalco was up 5.04%. The BSE metal index closed the day with a net gain of 5.27%. Auto stocks continued their northbound journey riding on robust September sales and expectation of continued buoyancy due to festive buying. Among big gainers of the day were Jindal Steel with 8.16%, Cairn Energy (6.47%), M&M (6.10%) and Tata Motors (4.8%).

However, telecom stocks continued their downhill drive. RCom lost a huge 6.38%, TataCom was down 3.39% while Bharti Airtel closed 3.16% lower on the BSE. Despite a robust 30% growth in profits, HDFC Bank ended flat.

Provisional Sebi data showed FIIs as net buyers to the tune of Rs 1,444 crore, thus taking the overall net equity purchases to over Rs 21,000 crore since January. FIIs have invested Rs 21,313 crore in calender year 2009. Up to 1,685 stocks recorded gains while 1,075 counters lost in value at Dalal Street.

Oil prices continued a 5-day rally on Wednesday, setting a new high for the year above $75 a barrel. US light, sweet crude peaked at $75.15 a barrel, before falling back to $74.86 later in the session. Crude oil prices have risen by over 20% in the past year. On October 27 last year crude was seen trading at $58.81.

Marketmen expect the momentum to continue on the back of Dow Jones nearing the psychological 10,000-point mark.

“Corporate earnings from the US – be it JP Morgan’s results announced on Wednesday or Intel’s earnings on Tuesday – show that global markets are getting into stronger turf. We expect the positivism to percolate into Thursday’s opening,” said an analyst.

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