MUMBAI The BSE Sensex rose to its highest close in about a month on Friday as lenders such as HDFC Bank (HDBK.NS) gained on growing expectations the central bank will cut interest rates, while energy stocks advanced as the government sought to spend more on oil subsidies.
The Sensex posted its biggest weekly gain since November 30, 2012, after rising for a fourth consecutive session, in what has been a sharp turnaround of fortunes since the index touched a three-month low last week.
The rally has eased some of the broad disappointment over the spending-heavy 2013/14 budget unveiled last week, as domestic markets track a global risk rally that sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average to record highs ahead of U.S. monthly employment data due later in the day.
Investors in India expect the Reserve Bank of India to cut interest rates on March 19 to bolster growth, although industrial output and inflation data next week will be key in setting those expectations.
"Broadly inflation and IIP should be in line with market expectation at least for this month," Kaushik Dani, a fund manager at Peerless Mutual Fund, said.
Weak quarterly GDP numbers at 4.5 percent also make a strong case for softening of rates, Dani added.
The Sensex rose 1.4 percent, or 269.69 points, to end at 19,683.23, the highest close since February 2. The index rose 4 percent for the week, its biggest weekly gain this year.
The Nifty rose 1.41 percent, or 82.40 points, to end at 5,945.70, adding 3.95 percent this week.
HDFC Bank gained 2.42 percent while mortgage lender HDFC Ltd (HDFC.NS) rose 4 percent on hopes the central bank will cut interest rates after the 25 basis point rate cut in January.
Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd (ONGC.NS) gained 1.7 percent after the government sought parliament's approval to spend an additional 247.74 billion rupees on oil subsidies in the current fiscal year that ends in March.
Oil India (OILI.NS) rose 3 percent while Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL.NS) gained 3.8 percent.
Shares in Jet Airways (JET.NS) surged 10.15 percent after CNBC TV18 reported that Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways may buy a 10-12 percent stake in the company directly from promoters.
However, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MRTI.NS) fell 1.4 percent after a company executive said the company would suspend production of petrol cars at one of its plants on Saturday, as the country's top carmaker looks to cut inventory amid slowing sales.
Technology shares fell on profit-taking. Infosys (INFY.NS) lost 1.1 percent after rising on Thursday to its highest since April 13, 2011, while Tata Consultancy Services (TCS.NS) declined 0.42 percent after touching a record high on Thursday.
Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd (MCEI.BO) fell 4.5 percent after 1.02 million shares changed hands on the BSE at 1,026 rupees a share earlier in the day.
Dealers said share sales were expected given the one-year lock-in period for pre-initial public offering investors ended on Thursday.
(Additional reporting by Abhishek Vishnoi; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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