Nifty closes above 5500 after 31 months; ICICI Bk lead

The benchmark Nifty closed at a 31-month high led by huge buying in private financial, cement and FMCG companies' shares and in stocks like Reliance Industries, L&T, JSPL and Hindalco. The index crossed another milestone of 5,500 and added more than 125 points in two days of trade. It had ended at 5705.30 on January 18, 2008.

Adrian Mowat of JPMorgan, who has been overweight on the country for the last nine months says the growth dynamics here are far superior to other economies. He feels the Indian markets will continue to move higher and possibly touch new highs. ''We see an upward revision of India's macro numbers which would lead to an earnings revision.''

Despite lacklustre movement of the indices globally, India has been holding up, and this trend, according to Alok Sama, President and Founder of Baer Capital, is expected to continue given good liquidity. In fact he sees a possibility of the Sensex rallying to 21,000 by the end of this year.

Even global markets were quite supportive today; European markets like France's CAC, Germany's DAX and Britain's FTSE were trading 0.5% higher, at the time of closing of Indian equities. Asian markets like Nikkei, Shanghai, Straits Times, Jakarta and Kospi gained 0.8-1.3%. Hang Seng was up just 0.24%. The Dow Jones futures added 44 points.

The 30-share BSE Sensex closed at 18,454.94, up 197.82 points or 1.08% and the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 61.05 points or 1.11% to settle at 5,540.20. The broader indices like BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices gained 0.8-0.9%.

Private financial companies' shares were the leaders; ICICI Bank was up 4.66% and HDFC was up 3.84%. HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank gained 1.7-2.2%. Axis Bank, IDFC and PNB went up 0.8%. The BSE Bankex rose nearly 2%. However, shares of India's largest bank - SBI fell 0.3%.