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Foreign funds' inflow, strong rupee buoy Indian equities

Inflow of foreign funds, coupled with a strong rupee buoyed the Indian equities markets on Thursday.

However, investors were cautious ahead of the Bank of England's (BoE) interest rate decision later in the day, and the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) monetary policy review slated for next week.

Besides, gains were capped on the back of negative global cues and weak automobile sales results.

Accordingly, the key indices closed the day's trade on a flat-to-positive note and touched new 2017 closing highs.

The wider 51-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) inched up by 17.85 points or 0.20 per cent, to 8,734.25 points.

The barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 28,167.83 points, closed at 28,226.61 points - up 84.97 points or 0.30 per cent, from the previous close at 28,141.64 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 28,299.92 points and a low of 28,070.81 points during the intra-day trade.

The BSE market breadth was tilted in favour of the bulls - with 1,557 advances and 1,254 declines.

In terms of broader markets, the BSE mid-cap index rose by 0.92 per cent, while the BSE small-cap index was up by 0.95 per cent.

On Wednesday, positive budgetary announcements lifted the benchmark indices to hit their three-month closing highs.

The NSE Nifty surged by 155 points or 1.81 per cent, to 8,716.30 points, while the BSE Sensex augmented by 485.68 points or 1.76 per cent, to 28,141.64 points.

"Markets ended modestly higher on Thursday after a mildly weak morning session. A recovery in the afternoon session helped the Nifty to end with gains and close at yet another new 2017 high," Deepak Jasani, Head - Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS.

"Major Asian markets ended lower barring the Jakarta index. European indices like CAC 40 and DAX traded lower."

According to Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls, scrips of auto and capital goods fell during the day's trade.

"Pharma sector was the top gainer as investors found value in pharma stocks," Desai pointed out.

"Bajaj Auto results disappointed the market and so auto was the top loser today."

The Indian rupee strengthened by 10 paise to 67.38 against a US dollar from its previous close of 67.48 to a greenback.

The provisional data with exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors (FIIs) purchased stocks worth Rs 108.59 crore, while the domestic institutional investors (DIIs) divested scrip worth Rs 110.89 crore.

Sector-wise, the S&P BSE consumer durables index surged by 277.55 points, followed by the healthcare index, which rose by 264.06 points, and the IT index, which edged up by 168.51 points.

On the other hand, the S&P BSE automobile index plunged by 241.14 points, the capital goods index declined by 119.13 points, and the industrials index slipped by 13.22 points.

Major Sensex gainers on Thursday were: Dr Reddy's Lab, up 3.31 per cent at Rs 3,096.15; Sun Pharma, up 2.64 per cent at Rs 641.35; Bharti Airtel, up 2.45 per cent at Rs 353.50; Coal India, up 2.30 per cent at Rs 320.25; and Infosys, up 2.05 per cent at Rs 935.35.

Major Sensex losers were: Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M), down 2.49 per cent at Rs 1,264.55; Tata Motors, down 2.00 per cent at Rs 530.85; Hero MotoCorp, down 1.77 per cent at Rs 3,226; Bajaj Auto, down 1.68 per cent at Rs 2,808.80; and Gail, down 1.61 per cent at Rs 476.95.

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