Markets maintain record run, Sensex ends above 44,000 for first time

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Mumbai, Nov 18 (PTI) Equity benchmarks scaled record highs for the third straight session on Wednesday as investors accumulated banking, auto and engineering stocks amid firm global cues and unabated foreign fund inflows.

The BSE Sensex vaulted 227.34 points or 0.52 per cent to close above the 44,000-level for the first time at 44,180.05. Intra-day, it touched its lifetime high of 44,215.49.

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty advanced 64.05 points or 0.50 per cent to end at its all-time high of 12,938.25, after making an intra-day record of 12,948.85.

M&M was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, soaring 10.76 per cent, followed by L&T, IndusInd Bank, Bajaj Finserv, SBI, Bajaj Finance, ICICI Bank, Kotak Bank and Axis Bank.

On the other hand, HUL, ITC, Titan, TCS, Bharti Airtel and Infosys were among the losers, shedding up to 2.07 per cent.

According to traders, largely positive cues from global markets and persistent foreign fund inflows buoyed market sentiment.

Foreign institutional investors remained net buyers in the capital market as they purchased shares worth Rs 4,905.35 crore on Tuesday, according to provisional exchange data.

Global equities held steady after the recent rally fuelled by encouraging COVID-19 vaccine trials, though the steadily rising coronavirus cases weighed on risk sentiment.

Domestic equities continued to maintain their northward move mainly led by rebound in financials and automobiles, said Arjun Yash Mahajan, Head Institutional Business at Reliance Securities, adding that strong buying continued in mid-cap and small-cap stocks 'A healthy improvement in earnings outlook of financials and visibility over asset quality continued to support financial stocks. Rotational trade also remained visible where IT, FMCG and Pharma remained laggards and cyclical and beaten down stocks witnessed sharp upmove,' he said.

BSE capital goods, auto, industrials, realty, bankex and finance indices surged up to 3.72 per cent, while FMCG, IT, teck, telecom and healthcare closed with losses.

Lakshmi Vilas Bank slumped 20 per cent to hit its lower circuit after the cash-strapped lender was put under moratorium due to its precarious financial health.

T N Manoharan, the RBI-appointed administrator of Lakshmi Vilas Bank, on Wednesday said depositors' money is safe and expressed confidence of completing the lender's merger with DBS Bank India within the deadline set by the regulator.

Meanwhile, the broader BSE midcap and smallcap indices rallied as much as 1.22 per cent.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul ended on a positive note, while Tokyo was in the red.

Stock exchanges in Europe also largely opened with gains.

Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, was trading 0.85 per cent higher at USD 44.12 per barrel.

The rupee continued its winning momentum for the third session in a row on Wednesday, rising 27 paise to settle at 74.19 against the US dollar. PTI ABM ANS ABM ABM