The Sensex on Thursday breached the 19,000 mark for the first time in 15 months as it rose 188 points ahead of the Cabinet meeting that is likely to consider big-ticket reforms like opening the pension sector to foreign investment and raising FDI cap in the insurance sector.
After resuming 30 points lower compared to Wednesday, the BSE benchmark index hit 19,107.04, its highest since July 2011, around mid-session as investors poured funds across stocks in realty, consumer goods, banks, capital goods and power shares in anticipation of fresh reforms.
Rising for the fourth straight day, the 30-share Sensex closed at 19,058.15, up 188.46 points or 1 per cent, as 20 stocks led by Bhel (6.57 per cent), ICICI Bank (2.93 per cent), Dr Reddy (2.16 per cent) and SBI (2.15 per cent) ended higher. Sensex has gained 480 points in the last four days.
Smart gains logged by ITC, HDFC Bank, L&T and TCS counters also helped the index sustain above the 19K mark on Thursday.
The 50-share NSE Nifty after breaching 5,800-level, ended at 17-month high levels of 5,787.60 - up 56.35 points.
In the overall market, over 1,700 stocks rose while 1,244 scrips declined. Total investor wealth rose by Rs 48,000 crore to Rs 66.71 lakh crore, shows BSE data.
"Sensex has closed above 19,000 for the first time since July mainly on the wave of positive sentiment on account of expected reforms announced by the government. Liquidity infused by FIIs through consistent buying in the past few days also played a part," said K Subramanyam, AVP-Institutional Research, Asit C Mehta Investment Intermediates.
Shares of companies with exposure to insurance business such as Aditya Birla Nuvo, Max India and Reliance Capital surged as much as 5 per cent on Thursday.
The Cabinet later on Thursday is likely to consider measures like opening pension sector to foreign investment, raising FDI cap in insurance sector from 26 per cent to 49 per, the Forward Contract Regulation Act (Amendment) Bill and the Companies Bill. A proposal to set up a National Investment Board (NIB) for according fast-track clearances to infra projects is also expected be taken up at the meeting.
Meanwhile, rupee gained for a fifth day to touch a five-and-half month high, breaching 52 to dollar for the first time since April 20, 2012.