Sensex crosses again 18,000 mark

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Mumbai, Feb 27: The BSE sensitive index crossed the 18,000 barrier further and touched a high at 18,050.09 points in the mid-morning session today with a massive gain of 243.90 points from it last fiish on sustained heavy bull support from FIIs and local institutional investors.

The key benchmark indices remained firm after strong opening tracking firm Asian markets. Reliance Industries gaining on the announcement of gas strike edged higher. Capital goods and metal stocks extended gains. Power stocks were in demand. Bharat Heavy Electricals was the top gainer from the Sensex pack. The market breadth was strong.

Asian markets, which opened before Indian markets, soared after weak US economic data and comments from a Federal Reserve official signalled that US interest rates will continue to head lower. Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn said on Tuesday that a weak US economy was a bigger worry than higher inflation risks.

Later, the 30-share BSE Sensex was up 296.60 points or 1.67 per cent at 18,102.79. Sensex touched a high of 18,137.28 in mid-morning trade. At days high, Sensex rose 331.09 points.

The broader CNX S&P Nifty was up 88.7 points or 1.67 per cent at 5358.25 from it last close.

The next major trigger for the market was the Union Budget 2008-09.

With general elections due in 2009, Union Budget 2008-09 to be presented on February 29 2008 will be the last full-fledged budget of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government and it is therefore likely to be a populist budget. Thus, the Finance Minister (FM) is likely to provide higher allocations to several social initiatives like rural upliftment, employment, education, agricultural growth and public health.

Power stocks rose. Power Grid Corporation of India surged 8.15 pc to Rs 110.90. Power Grid Corporation of India will replace Bajaj Auto in the S&P CNX Nifty index from 14 March 2008, a statement from an NSE joint venture company said late on Tuesday, 26 February 2008.

Tata Power Company (up 4.05 pc to Rs 1,411) and NTPC (up 1.96 pc to Rs 207.90) edged higher.

India's second largest power utility firm by revenue Reliance Energy extended rose 1.98 pc to Rs 1,730.10. The company said yesterday its board will meet on 5 March 2008 to consider, buy back of equity shares of the company.

Reliance Power increased by 0.55 per cent at Rs 450.75.Capital goods stocks were in demand. Larsen&Toubro (up 4.37 pc to Rs 3,672), Bharat Heavy Electricals (up 4.19 pc to Rs 2,272) and Suzlon Energy (up 1.51 pc to Rs 319.85) edged higher.

Metal stocks edged higher. National Alluminium Company was up 3.7 pc to Rs 481 followed by Jindal Stainless by 3.21 pc to Rs 165.50 , Tata Steel by 2.56 pc to Rs 829.80, Steel Authority of India by 2.28 pc to Rs 250.85, Hindalco Industries by 3.04 pc to Rs 203.20 and Sterlite Industries by 1.72 pc to Rs 862.10, brokers added.

UNI

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