Benchmarks maintain record run on Fed support; HDFC twins sparkle

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Mumbai, Dec 17 (PTI) The Sensex and Nifty sprinted to all-time highs for the fifth session on the trot on Thursday, in tandem with global markets after the US Fed's accommodative stance further fuelled risk-on sentiment.

After touching its lifetime intra-day high of 46,992.57, the 30-share BSE Sensex settled 223.88 points or 0.48 per cent up at 46,890.34 -- its new closing record.

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty rose 58 points or 0.42 per cent to a new closing high of 13,740.70. It hit a lifetime peak of 13,773.25 during the day.

HDFC topped the Sensex gainers' chart, spurting 2.92 per cent, followed by Bajaj Finance, HDFC Bank, IndusInd Bank, UltraTech Cement, PowerGrid, TCS, Tech Mahindra and L&T.

On the other hand, ONGC, Maruti, Tata Steel, HUL, Bajaj Auto and Sun Pharma were among the main laggards, tumbling up to 1.55 per cent.

World stocks soared to fresh highs after the US Federal Reserve said it will continue with its massive monetary stimulus until it sees 'substantial further progress' in employment and inflation levels.

The US central bank also vowed to maintain its monthly bond purchases of at least USD 120 billion. 'Market is rallying on the affirmation of the US FOMC policy decision to keep rates unchanged and assurance of continued support through further stimulus until the economy reaches the employment and inflation target. Along with this, the market is inching higher on expectations of upcoming events like further stimulus packages, Brexit progress and vaccine developments.

'Post the recent rally, mid and small-caps in India are marginally slowing down, they failed today to participate in the rally with the flattish trend, adding caution ahead of forthcoming developments,' said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.

Sector-wise, BSE finance, capital goods, realty, bankex, industrials, energy and healthcare indices rose up to 1.01 per cent, while metal, oil and gas, utilities, FMCG and auto lost as much as 1.42 per cent.

In the broader markets, the BSE midcap and smallcap indices fell up to 0.23 per cent.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo ended with gains, while Seoul was in the red.

Stock exchanges in Europe were also largely trading on a positive note.

The global oil benchmark Brent crude futures rose 0.51 per cent to USD 51.34 per barrel.

In the forex market, the Indian rupee ended just 1 paisa lower at 73.59 against the US dollar.

Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) remained net buyers in the capital markets, purchasing equities worth Rs 1,981.77 crore on Wednesday, according to provisional exchange data. PTI ANS ABM ANS ABM ABM