The BSE benchmark Sensex continued to rule firm for the third consecutive week, surging by another 289 points to 19,575.64 at close on Friday following sharp rise in FMCG and IT counters.
The barometer rallied to a three-month high to 19,792.00 due to heavy buying mainly in Hindustan Unilever (HUL) after Unilever announced open offer to hike stake in its Indian arm and government assuring investors TRCs will be accepted as certificate of residence.
Better-than-expected fourth quarter earnings by FMCG major HUL on the back of robust sales across various business verticals, boosted the market sentiment.
Shares of HUL ended higher by 23.05 pct as the company posted 14.65 increase in its net profit at Rs 787.20 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2013.
The RBI in its annual monetary policy said upside risks to inflation in the near term are still significant and monetary policy cannot afford to lower its guard against the possibility of resurgence of inflation pressures, dashing investor hopes of further softening of rates.
Banking stocks remained under pressure throughout the last day as the 0.25 percentage point rate cut was already factored in and hence profit-booking emerged at higher levels after three days of rally, brokers said.
The Sensex resumed higher at 19,306.67 and hovered in a wide range of 19,792.00 and 19,284.30 before ending at 19,575.64, showing a net gain of 288.92 points of 1.50 per cent. It has gained by 1,333.08 points of 7.30 per cent in three weeks.
The NSE 50-share Nifty also rose by 72.55 points or 1.24 per cent to 5,944.00. It has also gained by 415.45 points or 7.51 per cent in three weeks.
The Sensex slipped into the negative zone touching a low of 19,284.40 as the World bank scaled down India's growth forecast to 6.1 per cent for the current fiscal from earlier estimate of 7 per cent.
Passage of the Finance Bill and Finance Minister P Chidambaram assuring foreign investors that Tax Residency Certificate (TRC) issued by a foreign government will be accepted as a certificate of residence bolstered the sentiment, brokers said.
Persistent capital inflows from foreign funds also boosted the market sentiment. The FII invested net Rs 4,221.25 crs during the current week including the provisional figure of May 3 as per data issued by the Stock Exchanges.
16 scrips out of the 30-share sensex pack ended higher while 14 others finished lower.