There was no let-off in buying intensity even during the closing stages of the day. As a consequence, indices in the Indian stock markets closed on a very strong note. while Sensex edged higher by around 360 points (up 2.1%), gains on the NSE-Nifty came in the region of 110 points. While BSE Mid cap edged higher by a similar magnitude, the BSE Small cap index witnessed slightly lower gains of 1.4%. More than three stocks gained for every one that closed lower on the BSE-Sensex today.
Most Asian stocks closed higher today with Europe too trading in the positive currently. The rupee was placed at Rs 49.9 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Today's gains had global flavour to them and were a result of positive news coming out from the Euro Zone as well as China. Investors were reassured by news that Greece's debt reduction deal with private lenders will most likely be seen through. On China, its inflation fell sharply in February, thus giving it more headroom to pursue growth oriented policies. While these are certainly good developments, investors would do well not to base too much of their hopes on them. With the global economy still in delicate phase, the news could very well reverse in the times to come. Thus, cautious optimism should be the way to go we believe.
ICICI Bank, the private sector banking behemoth emerged one of the strongest gainers today with gains of more than 6%. In a first of its kind initiative, the bank, along with other financial institutions has formed the country's first US$ 2 bn Infrastructure Development Fund. This new firm will become operational from April, 2012 and will be 31% held by ICICI Bank. Bank of Baroda, Citi Financial and LIC will be the other equity contributors. This company will finance only those projects which have been either developed or are being developed under the PPP model. This step is necessary to reduce the risk. It should be noted that this move comes at a time when the country is in need of some gargantuan amount of money to see through its infrastructure plans for the 12th five year plan.
MCX Ltd, the newest member of the universe of listed companies in India had a dream debut on the bourses today. The issue that was priced at the upper band of Rs 1,032 witnessed an intraday high of Rs 1,426 before settling close to the Rs 1,300 levels. This will clearly be music to the ears of firms looking to list their stocks as also the Government of India who is planning a major divestment program. Whether this buoyancy sustains remains to be seen.