Sensex gains 29 points in choppy trade; HUL best performer

Snapping its two-day fall, the BSE Sensex today recovered over 29 points in highly volatile trade as investors targeted bluechips ahead of monthly derivatives expiry and the Union Budget on Saturday.

After opening in the positive territory on covering-up of short positions by speculators before monthly expiry on Thursday and optimistic buying by investors ahead of the Budget, the 3-share index slipped into the red and touched a low of 28,875.94 intra-day on profit-booking.

However, the Sensex bounced back to close higher by 29.55 points, or 0.10 per cent, at 29,004.66. Intra—day, it touched a high of 29,130.67.

The gauge had lost 487.16 points in the previous two sessions after investors locked—in gains after recent gains.

The 50—share Nifty of the National Stock Exchange also recovered by 7.15 points, or 0.08 per cent, to close at 8,762.10 after shuttling between 8,800.50 and 8,726.75.

Meanwhile, Foreign portfolio investors bought shares worth Rs 601.91 crore yesterday, as per provisional data released by the stock exchanges.

Brokers said pre—budget buying by participants in FMCG, capital goods, realty, IT, infrastructure and healthcare sector stocks on hopes of growth—oriented measures in the upcoming Budget, bettered the sentiments, helping the key indices to close in positive zone, though with minor upside adjustments.

Furthermore, covering—up of short positions in selective stocks in view of Thursday’s monthly expiry in the derivatives segment also positively impacted sentiments, they said.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will table the first full budget of the Narendra Modi Government on February 28.

Hind Unilever remained buyers’ fancy for yet another session and gained the most by surging 3.15 per cent to Rs 913.95.

ITC Ltd emerged second most gainer and ended 1.37 per cent higher at Rs 395.50 after company has won the bid to acquire Park Hyatt Hotel property in Goa.

Other prominent gainers were L&T (2.03 pc), BHEL (1.78 pc), Cipla (1.23 pc), GAIL (1.19 pc), Maruti Suzuki (1.09 pc), Wipro (0.52 pc), Axis Bank (0.38 pc) and Infosys (0.33 pc).

Laggards were Sesa Sterlite, ONGC, Tata Steel, Tata Motors, RIL, Bharti Airtel, Tata Power, ICICI Bank, Hindalco, M&M, Dr Reddy, HDFC Ltd and SBI that slumped upto 3.49 per cent.

In the 30-Sensex constituents, 17 ended higher, while 13 remained in the negative terrain.

Among metal and mining stocks, Jindal Steel and Power fell 4.5 per cent and Hindalco Industries was down 0.71 per cent.

Sectorwise, the BSE FMCG index gained the most by surging 1.45 per cent, followed by Capital Goods 1.09 per cent and Realty index by 0.56 per cent.

“Traders are wary of taking any fresh positions ahead of derivatives expiry and budget,” said Deven Choksey, managing director at K R Choksey Securities.

In the past 20 years, according to data collated by analysts at UBS, India’s index for top companies on the National Stock Exchange (Nifty) has outperformed emerging market peers four out of five times following a government’s maiden annual budget.

But this time, analysts warn markets have already priced in significant reforms.

The market may remain volatile this week as traders roll over positions in the futures & options (F&O) segment from the near month February 2015 series to March 2015 series. The February derivatives contracts expire on Thursday.

Japan’s Nikkei share average rose for a fifth straight day on Tuesday and scored another 15-year high after the yen weakened, while investors were cautious awaiting comments from US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen later in the day. The Nikkei rose 0.7 per cent to 18,603.48 points, the highest point of the day and the highest close since April 2000. The broader Topix gained 0.4 per cent to 1,508.28, and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.3 per cent to 13,680.93.

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