Buoyed by a slew of reform measures announced by the government and lower-than-expected inflation data, key equity benchmarks closed Friday's session in the green, though for the week it more or less remained in a tight range.
In a big push for the reforms process, the Cabinet last evening decided on a slew of key policy issues. The Cabinet cleared the Land Acquisition bill. The bill now needs the consent of the Parliament. It also agreed to set up a cabinet committee on investment to fast-track large infrastructure projects.
Key policymakers, including the finance minister, expressed hope that these decisions will bear fruit.
Stocks in rate-sensitive sectors such as banks and real estate did well on rising hopes the Reserve Bank of India will move towards easing interest rates starting early next year.
Inflation declined to 7.24 percent in November mainly on account of lower prices of some vegetables, giving a cue to RBI to consider interest rate cut next week to promote sagging growth.
ICICI Bank provisionally rose 1.5 percent, while State Bank of India gained 2.8 percent.
Fertiliser shares rallied after the government approved a new policy to encourage investment in urea manufacturing, in a move seen expediting USD 6.5 billion in projects that have been held back. The top gainer was FACT (up 16.12 percent) followed by National Fertilizers (up 1.62 percent), Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers (up 2.39 percent) and Chambal Fertilisers (0.81 percent).
Key benchmarks remained in a consolidation phase due to lack of trigger. The gains in SBI, ICICI Bank, TCS and Tata Motors were offset by fall in HDFC, HDFC Bank, Bharti, ITC and Infosys.
Indian equity benchmarks were trading higher with marginal gains following lower than expected inflation in November, helped by banks stocks. The Bank Nifty rose 0.94 percent as country's largest lender State Bank of India rallied 2 percent while its rival ICICI Bank was up 0.92 percent.
Equity benchmarks, which barely moved despite a slew of measures announced by the government on Thursday, reacted positively to November inflation (WPI) number, which came in lower at 7.24% against an expectation of 7.6%.
Fertiliser shares were up in morning trade Friday even as key equity benchmarks Sensex and Nifty struggled for direction.
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