Pharma, IT stocks on frontfoot, Sensex hits a century

Mumbai :Export-focussed companies ran the show today as the benchmark BSE Sensex snapping a two-day losing spell rebounded over 100 points, led by gains in pharma and IT amid optimism that a weak rupee at near two-year low would boost their earnings.

A strong dollar on the back of upbeat US economic data contributed to the rupee weakness.

China’s Shanghai index, which had fallen more than 4 per cent during the day, climbed back to the positive zone after the Chinese government announced support for its local banks, which came as a positive for investor appetite.

Blue-chip counters saw some firm buying, which helped too.

However, minutes of Federal Open Market Committee’s July 28-29 meeting, slated to be released later tonight, are keeping investors on their toes.

The barometer rallied above the 28,000-mark to hit the day’s high of 28,021.39, closing higher by 100.10 points, or 0.36 per cent, at 27,931.64.

The gauge had lost 235.77 points in previous two sessions.

The 50-share NSE Nifty intra-day scaled a high of 8,520.45, before ending at 8,495.15, up 28.60 points, or 0.34 per cent.

“Indices consolidated and traded in a narrow range throughout the day. Investors stay cautious ahead of the FOMC minutes. However, appreciation in the rupee, buying in information technology and pharma stocks helped the indices recover,” said Gaurav Jain, Director, Hem Securities.

Of the 30-share Sensex pack, 19 closed in the green.

Sun Pharma led from the front, up 4.32 per cent, followed by Lupin. Cipla and Dr Reddy’s surged 1.79 per cent and 1.07 per cent, respectively.

Hindalco, SBI, Coal India and Axis Bank witnessed some selling pressure.

Sectorally, the BSE healthcare index gained most (2.63 per cent), followed by consumer durables, IT and capital goods.

Broader markets too scooped up gains, with small-cap and mid-cap indices rising by up to 0.24 per cent.

Asian markets ended mixed. But European markets were trading sharply lower amid caution ahead of a vote in Germany on the Greek bailout deal.