Sensex gains for second day; rail stocks fall

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The BSE Sensex rose for a second consecutive day on Wednesday as blue chips rallied in line with higher global stocks, while Reliance Industries recovered from steep falls in the previous session that were seen as excessive.

Global shares were on track to post their longest winning run in five months as they rose for a sixth straight day, boosted by upbeat trade data from China and a US House deal extending the federal borrowing authority.

Still, analysts remain cautious given that foreign investors in India were net sellers for a ninth consecutive session on Tuesday, bringing their total during the period to $681 million, according to exchange data.

India was also due to post consumer inflation and industrial output data later in the day, which will help set expectations ahead of the Reserve Bank of India’s policy review on April 1.

“Though the overall sentiment is positive, people are cautious. FIIs (foreign institutional investors) are continuously selling. We expect the Nifty to trade in a 6,000-6,200 range for the medium term,” said Suresh Parmar, head, institutional equities at KJMC Capital Markets.

The Sensex closed higher 0.42 per cent at 20,448.49, while the Nifty ended up 0.35 per cent at 6,084.

Shares of Reliance Industries gained 1.6 per cent on value-buying after falling more than 2 per cent on Tuesday when Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asked for an investigation into company Chairman Mukesh Ambani and policymakers over pricing of gas produced from the company’s D6 block in the eastern coast.

Other energy stocks such as Oil and Natural Gas Corp advanced 2.6 per cent, while Gail India rose 2.5 per cent.

Broadly blue chips gained tracking higher global shares. Data earlier showed Chinese exports handily beat expectations in January, while Wall Street gained overnight after the US House of Representatives narrowly approved a one-year extension of the federal borrowing authority.

Banks rose with ICICI Bank up 3.1 per cent and State Bank of India higher 0.8 per cent ahead of inflation numbers later in the day.

However, among stocks that fell, Tata Steel declined 4 per cent after its October-December net profit disappointed.

Shares in railway companies, including Kernex Microsystems (India), Kalindee Rail Nirman Engineers and Titagarh Wagons, fell after the interim railway budget unveiled on Wednesday lacked any major capital spending announcement.

Kernex fell 4.2 per cent and Kalindee Rail closed down 1.3 per cent.