Sensex up 68 pts on growth prospects, easing oil price concern

Mumbai, Feb 25 (PTI) In a highly volatile trade, Sensextoday gained over 68 points to close at 17,700.91 on freshbuying in blue-chips at lower levels amid the Economic Surveyprojecting strong economic growth.

The upturn was bolstered by a firm tend in the Asianregion and higher openings in Europe on easing of crude oilprices, after the producing countries said they would boostoutput in case the Middle East turmoil hits supplies.

Besides, the Railway Budget this afternoon unveiled plansfor adding new railway lines - a positive for infrastructure.

The gains were led by stocks in the financial, FMGC andauto sectors.

The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark index Sensex shuttledbetween the day''s high of 17,812.44 and a low of 17,469.97,before ending 68.50 points up at to 17,700.91.

In a similar fashion, the broad-based National StockExchange index Nifty rose 40.85 points to 5,303.55, aftermoving between 5,338.20 and 5,232.75.

Trading sentiment improved as the Survey, tabled in theParliament, said the economy would to grow at 9 per cent in2011-12, from the projected 8.6 per cent this fiscal.

It also said the government is working on series of stepsto overhaul market regulations to better safe-guard thefinancial sector.

Among the 30 index components, 13 stocks closed withgains while 17 ended lower. The most-heaviest RelianceIndustries was up on favourable corporate reports.

Brokers cautioned, however, that investor confidence hasstill not recovered completely as the unrest in Libya andMiddle East continued. Also, back home, worries persist oninflation and current account deficit, they added.

Blue-chip stocks of SBI, ICICI Bank, Tata Motors, HeroHonda, ITC, Jindal Steel, Tata Steel and Bharti Airtel gained.

The FMCG sector index gained the most by 2.20 per centto 3,285.67, followed by banking index -- up 1.86 per cent to11,832.23. The auto sector rose by 0.75 per cent to 8,251.04and consumer durable index by 0.52 per cent to 5,631.01.

On the other hand, shares in IT, capital goods, teck,power and refinery segments declined.

As the buying was more pronounced in front-line stocks,smallcap index fell by 0.31 per cent to 7,789.47 and midcapindex by 0.22 per cent to 6,353.52.

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