The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark index, Sensex, jumped by nearly 208 points on heavy buying in realty, banking and capital goods shares as core inflation in February fell below 4 per cent mark for the first time in nearly three years. The 30-share index , which was down by 183 points at 19179.33 in morning deals, bounced back and was up by over 425 points to touch a high of 19604.70 after the inflation data was released.

The index finally ended higher by 207.89 points at 19570.44. On similar lines, the broad-based National Stock Exchange index, Nifty, regained the 5900-mark by rising 57.75 points to end at 5908.95.

“While the headline inflation came higher than expectations at 6.84 per cent, the continued moderation in core inflation kept market expectations alive that the RBI would cut the repo rate by 0.25 per cent next week,” said Amar Ambani, Head of Research, India Infoline Limited. In the 30-share Sensex, 24 stocks, led by SBI (3.51 per cent), Maruti (3.43 per cent), ICICI Bank (2.29 per cent) and HDFC Bank (2.28 per cent) and L&T (1.92 per cent), ended in positive territory.

While 1,420 stocks rose, and 1,446 counters fell in the overall BSE platform, investor wealth rose by Rs. 50,000 crore to Rs. 66.94 lakh crore.

Rupee down

The rupee declined by five paise to end at 54.35 as dollar demand exceeded supply, amid renewed speculation that the RBI would cut interest rates next week.

At the inter-bank foreign exchange market, the rupee commenced lower at 54.36 a dollar from the previous close of 54.30. It later traded in a range of 54.17 and 54.53. The rupee finally closed at 54.35, a fall of five paise.

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