Stocks: The BSE benchmark Sensex ended the week above 20,000 after two years due to strong buying mainly in refinery, realty and PSU sectors on the back of partial deregulation of diesel prices and the Government's decision to defer the implementation of controversial anti-tax evasion proposal GAAR.
Rate cut hopes by RBI in its monetary policy meeting on January 29 after a fall in inflation, as measured by Wholesale Price Index (WPI), to three-year low and persistent foreign funds inflow into equities also boosted the market.
Comments from the Finance Minister about immediate priority of the Government to keep the investment cycle going, too, aided the upsurge.
The 30-issue Sensex jumped 243 points on Monday, its best single-day gain in the current calender year, on all- round buying as Government deferred implementation of the General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR) by two years, from April 2014 to to April 2016, and a fall in inflation in December.
The BSE benchmark resumed higher at 19,689.09 and shot up further to a high of 20,126.55 before ending at 20,039.04, a gain of 375.40 points, or 1.91 per cent, its best level since January 6, 2011.
The NSE 50-share Nifty also rose by 113.10 points, or1.90 per cent, to end at over two-year high of 6,064.40.
"The partial decontrol in diesel prices triggered a rally in oil marketing companies," said Amar Ambani, Head of Research at brokerage IIFL.
The move to allow hike in diesel prices periodically to a maximum of 0.50 paisa per month would enable OMCs to cut their under-recoveries, thereby reducing the burden of fiscal deficit of Government. It will also reduce the oil subsidy bill, where diesel accounts for 59 per cent of total subsidy.
Refinery counters like IOC, ONGC, BPCL, OIL, HPCL and RIL zoomed between 7.11 per cent and 22.83 per cent. As a result, the BSE-Oil&Gas flared up by 10.96 per cent and was the top gainer from the sectoral indices.
Drop in WPI-based inflation to a three-year low of 7.18 per cent in December also triggered buying in stocks.
Buying was so strong that stock markets ignored data showing that retail inflation rose to 10.56 per cent in December from 9.90 per cent in November.
Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs), the main market driver, remained net buyers throughout the week, investing a net Rs 4,977.79 crore, including the provisional figure of January 18.
The market ended in the