: The benchmark Sensex closed at an all-time high on Wednesday amid optimism that the U.S. Federal Reserve will continue with its monetary stimulus when it ends a two-day meeting.

Building up on Tuesday’s 359-point rally following the RBI policy, the Sensex surged 104.96 points to 21033.97. The highest close previously was 21004.96 on November 5, 2010, while the intra-day record high was 21206.77, which was hit on January 10, 2008.

Hectic short covering ahead of the expiry of futures and options October contracts on Thursday, along with foreign capital inflows and higher global cues, pushed the index higher.

All but two of the 13 sectoral indices advanced, led by healthcare, FMCG, technology, and power stocks.

ITC and ICICI Bank boosted the Sensex. Bharti Airtel, which posted a better-than-expected operating performance, was the biggest gainer on the index.

“The festive season seems to be getting better and better,” said Amar Ambani, Head of Research, at India Infoline. “The momentum continued for the second straight day post RBI’s decision of cutting the marginal standing facility rate, bringing cheer on Dalal Street,” he added.

The 50-share CNX Nifty on the National Stock Exchange rose 30.80 points to 6,251.70.

Foreign institutional investors continued their buying spree, and invested a net Rs. 1,103.04 crore in shares on Tuesday, according to provisional data from the stock exchanges. Overseas funds are investing in emerging markets as the Fed continues its $ 85 billion bond-buying programme every month.

Asian stocks ended higher on rising company earnings and expectations that the Federal Reserve will maintain the pace of its monetary stimulus.Key indices in China, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea rose.

Indices in France, Germany and the U.K. also moved up, while there were indications of a higher opening in the U.S. index futures.

Rupee gains further

The rupee added another 8 paise to end at 61.23 against the dollar, the highest level in more than two weeks, as the U.S. currency traded stable ahead of the outcome of Federal Reserve’s meeting and as domestic shares surged to a record.

The rupee also got support from fag-end sales of dollars by banks and exporters on the back of sustained foreign capital inflows. Reports said RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan told analysts that the central bank might have done enough with rate hikes for now and would wait for their impact on the economy. —PTI

Asian stocks ended higher on expectations that the Federal Reserve would maintain the pace of its monetary stimulus