Markets bounce back strongly to reclaim most of last week''s losses

If the markets surprised most traders and investors by the severity of the fall last Thursday, today they surprised them with the strength and speed of the recovery. It was almost like last Thursday, in the reverse direction, as the indices almost recovered what they lost that day.

A strong opening was expected after the decline in oil prices and the strong performance across most Asian markets in today's opening trades. The fact that FII's pumped in more than $100 million last Thursday when the markets crashed also added to the positive sentiment.

The indices did not disappoint and opened with a huge positive gap and ran up gains of a per cent each in early trades. While a large section of the traders were expecting a volatile session with the indices giving up some of the early gains later in the day, what happened afterwards was way beyond expectations.

The indices gained from strength to strength throughout the day as most frontline stocks lost no time in regaining lost territory. Last week's fall had encouraged the build up of short positions and the indices surged ahead as these positions were covered. It was one strong up move with barely a hint of profit booking through out the day.

The breadth of the market was so strong that there were no losers among the 30 Sensex stocks and only 1 loser, BPCL, among the 50 Nifty stocks. On the NSE, there were more than 7 advancing stocks for every declining stock.

The mega caps ONGC and Reliance Industries led from the front. ONGC added close to 2 per cent and Reliance closed with gains of over 4 per cent.