Extending the gains of the previous week, the Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark index Sensex commenced the new year on a promising note today by adding nearly 94 points following major rally in the auto and metals counters amidst positive global sentiment.

The Sensex, which recorded the biggest yearly gains in 18 years last year by rising 81 per cent, added 93.92 points today to shut the shop at 17,558.73 after touching a fresh 19-month high of 17,582.84, despite a negative opening.

In similar fashion, the wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty 50 rose by 31.15 points to 5,232.20 and touched an intra-day high of 5,238.45. The markets were closed on January 1 for a the new year’s day.

Significantly, both the exchanges started off the first trading in the new year 55 minutes earlier at 9am.

Among the 30-share Sensex counters, 23 ended with gains while seven closed with losses. The rally was led by the auto, metals, consumer durables and FMCG counters on expectations of faster economic growth. All the auto companies had reported huge jump in their December sales.

The upsurge was partly checked as the index heavyweight Reliance Industries fell by 1.29 per cent to Rs 1,075.35 following two block deals comprising 2.5 crore scrips at Rs 1035 per share.

The auto index was the biggest driver today with a 1.88 per cent jump to 7,575.76 points followed by the metal index at 1.82 per cent to 17,715.30 points.

Mahindra and Mahindra led auto counter by gaining 4.52 per cent to Rs 1,129.60, its highest close since January 1991. The massive rally was driven by a 120 per cent jump in its domestic sales rose to 22,754 units in December.

The second biggest gainer was Tata Motors with 4.39 per cent to Rs 827.40 after its December sales more than doubled to 51,627 units.

In the metals space, Tata Steel rose 2.66 per cent to Rs 634.05. Spot—market prices of its products, used in automobiles and appliances, were increased by Rs 1,500 a ton last week.

Tata Steel was followed by SAIL with a 3.14 per cent jump to Rs 248.20. The company’s sales grew 32 per cent in December as demand for the metal recovered dramatically.

Barring the oil and gas sectors, all the sectoral indices ended with gains. With the buying activity spreading over a broader front, the Small-cap index rose by 1.60 per cent to 8,491.73 points and the Mid-cap index by 1.48 per cent to 6,817.35points.

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