Sensex, Nifty end at fresh closing highs on first session of FY18

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Riding on good PMI numbers and strong rupee, both indices ended the day at their respective record closing highs. The manufacturing sector expanded at the fastest pace in five months in March with Nikkei Manufacturing PMI at 52.5 in March, as compared to 50.7 in February.  Finance Minister pegging India's GDP growth at 7.7% in 2018 and hopes of timely implementation of GST also aided the sentiment.


Nifty gained as much as 71 points at intra-day to reach a new high of 9,245, surpassing its previous milestone of 9,118 hit on March 17 backed by index heavyweights. L&T and Dr Reddy’s continued to be the top gainers, while Bharti Airtel and Wipro were top losers.


S&P BSE Sensex today rallied 290 points to end at record closing high of 29,910 surpassing its previous closing high of 29681.77 hit on Jan 29, 2015 while the broader Nifty50 index also settled the day at its closing high of 9,238, up 64 points.


In the broader market, the S&P BSE Midcap and the S&P BSE Smallcap indices added 0.6% and 1.3%, respectively to touch their fresh lifetime highs. 

"The start to year has been encouraging as the market continued to re-construct new highs with growing inflow of foreign funds in expectation of government’s reforms & growth prospects," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services in a note.


Rupee, also strengthened to its highest in nearly 1-1/2 years and bonds rallied, with investor sentiment lifted by a surge in foreign investments last month.


Sectors and Stocks


Reliance Industries (RIL) gained nearly 5% to Rs 1,380, its fresh 9-year high on the BSE in intra-day trade, after Reliance Jio on Friday said it had notched an unprecedented 72 million paid subscribers, and extended by a fortnight its deadline for migrating other subscribers to its paid offer. The stock ended 4% higher.


Rival Bharti Airtel fell as much as 2.7%, while Idea Cellular was down nearly 1%.


Infosys shed around 1.5% after founder NR Narayana Murthy criticised a salary hike given to Chief Operating Officer Pravin Rao, raising concerns about disputes between founders and the board at the firm.


Shares of breweries & distilleries companies such as United Spirits, Radico Khaitan, Associated Alcohols & Breweries and Globus Spirits fell after the Supreme Court order banning sale of liquor along the national and state highways. Among individual stocks, United Spirits ended nearly 6% lower. The stock slipped 8% to Rs 2,002 in intra-day trade so far.


Unitech tanked 20% at intra-day to Rs 4.46 after the company's promoters Ajay Chandra and Sanjay Chandra were sent to police custody late on Friday by a Delhi court in an alleged fraud case related to a Gurugram-based real estate project. They will be produced in a Delhi court today. The stock ended 9% lower.


Manufacturing PMI at 5-month high


Activity in the country's manufacturing sector expanded at the fastest pace in five months in March as output and new orders accelerated, according to a private survey that also showed price pressures eased.


The Nikkei Manufacturing PMI rose to 52.5 in March, from 50.7 in February. This is the third month in a row that it has been above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction.


Output and new orders sub-indexes rose to their highest since October 2016, suggesting the world's fastest growing major economy has largely recovered from PM Modi's decision in November to ban high-value currency notes.


Global Markets


World stock markets and the U.S. dollar started the second quarter on a positive note on Monday, although caution also set in as the first meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and China's Xi Jinping loomed.


European shares opened broadly higher , tracking Asian shares up after generally upbeat economic data.


MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.2%, while Japan's Nikkei gained 0.8% after hitting a seven-week low on Friday.


US stock futures ESc1 1YMc1 also indicated a positive open for Wall Street shares, while focus turned to a meeting on Thursday and Friday between the US and Chinese presidents.

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