Markets build on gains on day five; Sensex climbs 936 points and reclaims the 56,000 mark

Stock indexes marched higher for a fifth consecutive month on March 14, buoyed by robust buying from banks and IT meters and a drop in crude oil prices, as hopes of progress in Russia-Ukraine talks boosted risk appetite around the world.

European bourses opened higher on reports of tentative progress in talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials, even as Moscow continued its military offensive.

After a cautious start, the 30-stock BSE Sensex gained momentum over the session to close 935.72 points or 1.68% higher at 56,486.02.

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty rose 240.85 points, or 1.45%, to settle at 16,871.30.

Infosys topped the Sensex winners chart, up 3.76%, while HDFC Bank climbed 3.25% after RBI on Saturday lifted all restrictions on the private sector lender, allowing it to issue new digital ones launch initiatives.

Other prominent winners included SBI, Maruti Suzuki, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, Wipro and HDFC.

Only four Sensex holdings ended down — HUL, Sun Pharma, Dr. Reddy’s and Tata Steel, which fell as low as 1.66%.

“We’re gaining traction as the strategy shifts from tactical sell to tactical buy. Investment rises as commodity prices return. FIIs selling and crude oil prices are falling, which is expected to continue due to diplomatic developments, giving an advantage to the domestic market.

“As expected, investors around the world are preparing for rate hikes. Domestic WPI has spiked but the market is ignoring this as future prices may be bleak,” said Vinod Nair, research director at Geojit Financial Services.

Wholesale price-based inflation rose to 13.11% in February as crude oil and non-food items prices hardened, although grocery items weakened.

After two months of mild easing, WPI inflation accelerated in February and remained in double digits for the 11th consecutive month as of April 2021.

The broader market showed muted trend, with the BSE smallcap index up 0.31% while the midcap indicator was up 0.02%.

A total of 1,749 shares rose while 1,723 fell and 140 remained flat on the BSE.

On the global front, Hong Kong and Shanghai stock markets fell sharply after China imposed a renewed lockdown in Shenzhen following a surge in COVID-19 cases. Tokyo closed slightly higher.

Stock markets in Europe traded largely in the green during the afternoon session.

Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent fell 2.97% to $109.3 a barrel.

The rupee fell 10 paise against the US dollar on Monday to close at 76.54.

Overseas institutional investors continued their selling spree in Indian markets as they sold ₹2,263.90 crore of shares on a net basis, according to stock market data on Friday.

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