Sensex makes 25% gain in 2014-15

It was equities all the way in 2014-15. With the stock markets hitting new peaks on a regular basis, the just concluded financial year turned out to be a bonanza for investors. While the benchmark indices were up by about 25%, the small and mid-cap indices gave higher gains surging 54% and 51% respectively during the year. Gold was the worst performer among widely traded asset classes recording nearly 9% decline in the period. The 25% jump is the best fiscal year gain for the sensex since 2009-10.

The market capitalization of companies listed on BSE soared by about Rs. 26 lakh crore in the fiscal to around Rs. 101.5 lakh crore. The sensex touched its all-time high of 30,025 intra-day on March 3. Interestingly, the BSE-Healthcare index topped the gainers list by posting 71% jump during the fiscal. Pharmaceuticals majors Cipla and Sun Pharmaceuticals were among the top performers in the sensex pack.

The poor show of index heavyweights RIL and ITC dragged down the sensex. While the RIL stock declined nearly 12%, the ITC scrip lost 8% during the fiscal. RIL and ITC have a combined weightage of nearly 20% on the sensex and were among the biggest losers on the index.

The fall in commodity prices pushed companies that depend on natural resources into the red. Most stocks in the metals and oil and gas sectors recorded losses in 2014-15. While the BSE-metals index was the worst performer declining by 6.3%, the BSE-oil and gas index was down 2.9%.

All the frontline stocks in these sectors including index heavyweights RIL, ONGC, Tata Steel and Hindalco Industries recorded losses. Metals and oil and gas companies have a combined weightage of 13.15% in the sensex.

Interest rate sensitive sectors such as automobiles and banking saw maximum traction during the year. With the RBI setting in motion the rate reduction cycle, stocks in these counters received a boost. The BSE-Bankex and BSE-Auto indices zoomed 44.9% and 44.7% respectively during 2014-15. Incidentally, Maruti Suzuki was the top performing stock in the sensex pack during the fiscal recording a 88% jump.

Shares of companies in consumer durables and capital goods sectors also surged due to the improvement in sentiments. While the BSE-consumer durables index zoomed 57.5%, the second best performance among indices, the capital goods index gained 49.7%. Stocks of FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) and IT firms however posted only a modest increase in 2014-15.

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