The BSE Sensex gained 68 points to close at 20215, and the Nifty ended the day at 6124, up 20 points over the previous close. Action continued to be centered around earnings candidates in the absence of any other key trigger.
Equity benchmarks finished higher Thursday after trading in a narrow range for most part of the day. Dealers attributed the late spike to squaring of short positions in the derivatives segment, today being the settlement day for May series.
The BSE Sensex gained 68 points to close at 20215, and the Nifty ended the day at 6124, up 20 points over the previous close.
Action continued to be centered around earnings candidates in the absence of any other key trigger.
Tata Motors shares gained over 4 percent after the company's fourth quarter numbers announced post-market hours Wednesday, beat analyst estimates by a comfortable margin. Most brokerages retained their positive ratings on the stock, but warned of a volatile stock performance in the coming months because of a similar trend in profitability.
Mahindra & Mahindra was the other big gainer among frontline shares, climbing over 4 percent after reporting strong fourth quarter numbers. Net profit was boosted by an extraordinary income of Rs 90 crore from shares of sales of group company Mahindra Holidays.
State-owned steel major SAIL closed around 1 percent lower after its quarterly net profit plunged 72 percent on higher interest charges. Brokers said the weak performance was largely on expected lines.
Key gainers among Sensex stocks included BHEL, HDFC, HDFC Bank, NTPC and ITC, which rose between 1-3 percent.
Cipla, Tata Steel, Hindalco and ICICI Bank were the key laggards, down between 3-5 percent.
Mphasis was the star performer among mid-caps, shrugging off a sluggish second quarter performance, on reports that parent Hewlett Packard was looking to sell its entire 60 percent stake in the company.
The stock closed around 8 percent higher at Rs 484.70, after touching a 52-week high of Rs 513 intra-day.
At a broader level, fourth quarter earnings were not as weak as feared, but that alone may not be good enough to propel the market higher, feel some experts.
"It is going to be a slow (earnings) recovery process. Even the markets will move in line with that because today the markets are trading at fair valuations and so we cannot expect markets to rerate based on these earning numbers," Harsha Upadhyaya of Kotak Mutual Fund said in an interview to CNBC-TV18.
Liquidity will be the key driver near term, amid speculation on whether or not the US Federal Reserve will start cutting back on its monetary stimulus.