Indices stretch gains to fifth straight day

The markets opened on a weak note, but recovered quickly. The indices traded on a flat note till early noon when some selling pressure emerged.

Markets lost ground as frontline stocks declined from their morning levels. Indices slipped into the red on renewed selling pressure on pharma stocks like Ranbaxy.

The last half hour saw some frenzied buying as the Sensex gained over 40 points in a short time. Some traders were reportedly covering their short positions ahead of the weekend.

Sensex closed at 6388, up 29 points and the Nifty at 1978, up 14 points. Nifty May futures discount to the spot index narrowed to 3 points from yesterday's 14 points.

Among Nifty stocks, Zee Tele, Maruti and BPCL were the major percentage gainers while Oriental Bank of Commerce, Ranbaxy and L&T were the major losers.

Yesterday, US markets were surprised by Standard and Poor's downgrade of both General Motors and Ford. The rating agency downgraded the bonds of the auto majors to junk grade much earlier than expected, citing competitive pressures. The bounce back in oil for the second day also affected the market sentiment. After trading firm till mid-session, Dow lost close to half a per cent while NASDAQ closed flat.