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Record high: Sensex gains over 250 pts; ITC surges 5%

08:59

The News International Team

9:50 am Market outlook The Nifty could correct briefly over the next few sessions, but has a strong support level at 8460, says Vineet Bhatnagar, Managing Director, Phillip Capital. Bhatnagar says there is a higher probability of the index moving towards 8630 by the end of this year. He says FIIs are still net long on index futures. Bhatnagar is bullish on banking stocks like Lakshmi Vilas , Federal Bank and City Union in the short term. In the pharma space, he is bullish on IPCA and Ajanta Pharma . Other stocks he is positive on include TCS, ITC, Asian Paints and Marico.

9:30 am Buzzing: Shares of ITC soared 6 percent intraday as the government is unlikely to ban sale of loose cigarettes in near-term. Other cigarette-related stocks like Godfrey Phillips India and VST Industries were up 10 and 6 percent respectively.

A Health Ministry proposal to ban sale of loose cigarettes is likely to be put on hold following objections by some MPs, including some Union ministers, and farmers associations against taking drastic regulatory steps.

At a meeting called by Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu, Health Minister J P Nadda assured the MPs that he will look into all issues pertaining to tobacco and arecanut growers and industry before taking any policy decision. Union Ministers besides MPs from two major tobacco-producing states Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, including Ananth Kumar and Nirmala Sitharaman and Mohanbhai Kundaria, were present at the meeting where Nadda was told to address all concerns and not to take any hasty step.

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The market has opened at all-time high once again. The Sensex is up 282.94 points or 0.9 percent at 28725.65, and the Nifty is up 44.75 points or 0.5 percent at 8582.40. About 510 shares have advanced, 107 shares declined, and 27 shares are unchanged.

ITC is up 5 percent while Cipla, ONGC, Tata Motors and BHEL are other top gainers in the Sensex. Among the losers are ICICI Bank, Sun Pharma and Coal India.

The Indian rupee opened on flat note at 61.93 in the early trade. It has closed at 61.91 Wednesday. The euro fell to two-year lows on expectations the European Central Bank will be forced to inject even more stimulus to a sputtering euro zone economy.

Mohan Shenoi of Kotak Mahindra Bank said, “Dollar is continuing its rally against major global currencies. RBI appears to be active on both sides of the USD-INR market thereby keeping the currency subdued and rangebound. USD-INR is expected to trade today in a range of 61.70-62 per dollar.”

In the US, stocks rallied into the close, with the Dow and S&P 500 ending the day at records amid encouraging economic reports. In Europe, shares closed higher, amid expectations that further European Central Bank stimulus measures would be announced at its policy committee today.

Meanwhile, Asian markets are trading with gains this morning. Nikkei has climbed to yet another 7-year high while the yen weakened to a new seven-year low of 119.89 per USD.

In commodities, Brent crude is hovering near USD 70 per barrel buoyed by positive inventory data. From precious metals space, gold rose above USD 1,200 an ounce, boosted by firmer oil prices that prompted investors to shuffle positions in a volatile market.

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