Financials keep markets in top gear; Sensex up over 300 points

Markets continued to trade at their day's high helped by a rebound in IT majors on the back of US economy gaining pace while renewed buying in index heavyweights and financials also boosted the benchmark indices.

At 1:30pm, the 30-share Sensex was up 366 points at 25,848 and the 50-share Nifty was up 109 points at 7,841.

Three of the 30-Sensex stocks were trading in negative terrain while 7 stocks of the Nifty-50 were trading lower.

"There was across-the-board buying after the minutes of the US Fed meeting giving the possibility of a rate hike in December has  receded fears of global deflationary pressures. Further, private banks have registered good business growth during the September quarter in relation to the industry," says G Chokkalingam, Founder & MD, Equinomics Research & Advisory.

The minutes of the US Federal Reserve released on Wednesday indicated that the US central bank would hike interest rate but the pace of increase going forward would be gradual.

Financials which are a proxy to the economy also witnessed buying interest with private banking major ICICI Bank leading with nearly 3% gains followed by HDFC, HDFC Bank and state-owned banking major SBI.

IT exporters Infosys and TCS rebounded after sharp losses in the previous session as the strengthening US economy raised expectations of new orders.

Oil and gas stocks attracted investor attention after the Union Cabinet approved on Wednesday a marketing margin of Rs 150-200 a standard cubic meter (scm) to be charged by natural gas retailers such as Reliance Industries and GAIL from urea and for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) plants. Reliance Industries and GAIL were up 1.8-2.6% each.

Among the prominent Sensex gainers, Hero MotoCorp gained over 3% after the country's largest two-wheeler maker said that it has clocked over one million units in retail sales during the festive season this year.

Dr Reddy's Labs continues to be the top loser among benchmark indices. The company which had slumped in early trades trimmed losses and was trading 3% lower. The stock has been witnessing selling pressure ever since the pharma major announced that it has received a warning letter from the US Food and Drug Administration ( US FDA) over quality control issues at three of its manufacturing facilities.

In the global arena, Asian markets edged higher tracking overnight gains on Wall Street post the US Fed minutes with major benchmarks such as Nikkei, Shanghai Composite, Hang Seng and Straits Times up over 1% while among European markets, FTSE-100 and DAX  were trading flat with CAC-40 was down 0.6% amid continued tensions in Paris.

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