Despite a sudden sell-off blip following a public attack on the Chief Justice of India by four senior colleagues, the key equity indices of the Indian stock markets on Friday closed at fresh highs with modest gains. According to market observers, optimism over the ongoing corporate earnings season, along with positive global cues and buying support from oil and gas, banking and capital goods stocks, helped the key indices to recoup the losses. The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE recovered almost 250 points from its day’s low at 34,342.16 points to close the day’s trade at a new high of 34,592.39 points — up 88.90 points or 0.26 percent — from its previous session’s close.

During early morning trade, the Sensex — which opened at a fresh high of 34,578.99 points — scaled a fresh intra-day high of 34,638.42 points. However, the BSE market breadth remained bearish as 1,584 stocks declined as compared to 1,331 advances. On the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the wider Nifty50 edged higher by 30.05 points or 0.07 percent to close at 10,681.25 points. The Nifty50 too had opened at a fresh level of 10,682.55 points and touched a new intra-day high of 10,690.25 points. “The Sensex and Nifty had hit record highs in early trade on the back of positive Asian cues. Expectations of recovery in domestic earnings in Q3FY18 also helped the market sentiments,” Deepak Jasani, Head, Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS.

“However, selling pressure emerged in afternoon trade after four Supreme Court judges reportedly said working of the apex Court was not in order. Indices later bounced back to close the session with small gains,” Jasani said. In the broader markets, the S&P BSE mid-cap index closed lower by 0.17 percent, while the small-cap index closed a tad higher by 0.05 percent. Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services, said: “The market reversed from intra-day low amid concerns over administration of the apex court which had resulted in a sentimental sell-off. Positive trade in global market and expectation of revival in domestic earnings from H1FY18 is upholding the healthy sentiment.

“On the other hand, concern over December Consumer Price Index inflation rising to 5.1 percent and increase in oil prices are likely to add volatility in the near term,” he added. On the currency front, the Indian rupee strengthened by three paise to close at 63.63 against the US dollar from its previous close at 63.66. Sectorwise, the S&P BSE banking index rose by 145.58 points, followed by oil and gas index by 112.02 points and capital goods index by 95.84 points. On the other hand, the S&P BSE consumer durables index fell by 61.29 points, FMCG index by 56.56 points and healthcare index by 51.79 points.

Major Sensex gainers on Friday were: ICICI Bank, up 2.63 percent at Rs 317.60; Maruti Suzuki, up 1.27 percent at Rs 9,460.30; ONGC, up 1.26 percent at Rs 200.25; HDFC, up 1.17 percent at Rs 1,761.25; and Reliance Industries, up 1.02 percent at Rs 946.75. Major Sensex losers were: Bharti Airtel, down 1.04 percent at Rs 509.40; ITC, down 0.89 percent at Rs 267.50; Power Grid, down 0.88 percent at Rs 196.50; Bajaj Auto, down 0.84 percent at Rs 3,175.10; and Tata Motors (DVR), down 0.73 percent at Rs 252.50.