MUMBAI The BSE Sensex rose for a fifth time in six sessions on Friday as a recovery in global markets helped blue chips such as ITC to recover from falls in the previous session, while cement makers such as ACC surged on speculation of price hikes.
Still, trading is expected to enter a subdued period ahead of general elections due by May with global factors gaining prominence, especially as the U.S. Federal Reserve continues to scale down its monetary stimulus.
Asian shares rebounded from falls in the previous session after a survey showing brisk U.S. manufacturing activity offset concerns about China's economic growth.
Overseas investors continued to pump money into the Indian markets, buying $33.09 million on Thursday and bringing their total over the previous seven sessions to $330.08 million, exchange data showed.
"Right now, our market is moving only on global cues. A large part of the market is waiting for the election outcome," said Mehraboon Irani, head, private client group at Nirmal Bang.
The Sensex ended up 0.8 percent at 20,700.75, while the Nifty closed higher 1.05 percent at 6,155.45.
The BSE index gained 1.64 percent and the NSE index rose 1.77 percent for the week, their biggest gain since the week ended December 20.
ITC (ITC.NS) shares rose 1.84 percent on buying from foreign funds, traders said, while Tata Steel (TISC.NS) gained 2.09 percent and Larsen & Toubro (LART.NS) closed up 1.98 percent.
Banking stocks continued to see investors' interest, with ICICI Bank (ICBK.NS) higher 1.73 percent, State Bank of India (SBI.NS) up 1.45 percent and Axis Bank (AXBK.NS) stronger 3.07 percent.
HCL Technologies (HCLT.NS) closed higher 4.43 percent after The Wall Street Journal reported the company's founder Shiv Nadar was seeking potential buyers for his $10 billion stake in the company. However, HCL denied any plans of stake sale.
Cement stocks such as UltraTech (ULTC.NS) gained 5.75 percent, ACC (ACC.NS) closed up 5.72 percent and Ambuja Cements (ABUJ.NS) rose 6.06 percent on speculation about price hikes.
However, among stocks that fell, Shree Renuka Sugars (SRES.NS) closed down 6.03 percent on fears of equity dilution after Singapore's Wilmar International (WLIL.SI) said on Thursday it has agreed to invest up to $145 million for a major stake in the company.
(Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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With the Nifty breaching 8,500, sentiments are again bullish. But markets have been in the 8,200-8,600 range for some time and stocks across the board do not give the required confidence except for the liquidity factor. Many frontline stocks are not participating on the upside and the core sector is in a downtrend, writes Ambareesh Baliga. Column