Benchmarks scale fresh peaks for 3rd day; RIL, HDFC Bank spurt

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Mumbai, Jan 12 (PTI) Equity indices vaulted to fresh lifetime highs for the third session on the trot on Tuesday as investors remained in risk-on mode amid unabated foreign fund inflows.

Overcoming a wobbly start, the 30-share BSE Sensex surged to its all-time peak of 49,569.14 during the day, propelled by robust buying in index heavyweights Reliance Industries and HDFC Bank.

The index finally finished at its new closing record of 49,517.11, up by 247.79 points or 0.50 per cent.

On similar lines, the broader NSE Nifty advanced 78.70 points or 0.54 per cent to a fresh closing peak of 14,563.45. It scaled a record level of 14,590.65 during the session.

On the Sensex chart, SBI was the top gainer, rallying 3.65 per cent, followed by Bharti Airtel, Reliance Industries, HDFC Bank, ITC, Axis Bank and NTPC.

RIL and HDFC Bank accounted for the lion's share of the benchmark's gains.

On the other hand, Asian Paints, HUL, Nestle India, Titan, Kotak Bank and Sun Pharma were among the laggards, dropping up to 3.93 per cent.

'The pace of the market rally continued despite RBI's caution over elevated NPA levels in 2021, supported by PSU Banks and auto stocks. Majority of the sectors traded in the green in anticipation of good quarterly result while pharma and FMCG experienced some selling.

'US bond yield has changed its trajectory to a rising trend, which could impact EMs in the future. But FII inflows are strong and the dollar continues to be weak due to oversupply of USD led by the high amount of fiscal stimulus,' said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.

RBI's Financial Stability Report (FSR), released after market hours on Monday, said banks' gross non-performing assets may rise to 13.5 per cent by September 2021, from 7.5 per cent in September 2020 under the baseline scenario, hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his foreword to the bi-annual report, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said the disconnect between certain segments of financial markets and the real economy has been accentuating in recent times, both globally and in India.

'Stretched valuations of financial assets pose risks to financial stability,' he warned. Sector-wise, BSE telecom, realty, energy, oil and gas, utilities, auto and finance indices surged as much as 2.85 per cent, while consumer durables, healthcare, capital goods and FMCG nursed losses.

Broader BSE midcap and smallcap indices climbed up to 0.44 per cent.

Global markets were mixed following negative cues from Wall Street and rising COVID-19 cases in multiple countries, even as investors monitored the vaccines rollout.

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

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

Meanwhile, the global oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 1.60 per cent higher at USD 56.55 per barrel.

The rupee recouped early losses and provisionally closed 15 paise higher at 73.25 against the US dollar.

Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) remained net buyers in the capital markets, purchasing equities worth Rs 3,138.90 crore on Monday, according to exchange data. PTI ABM ANS ABM ABM