The BSE Sensex closed Wednesday with a whopping gain of 195 points to reach a new high of 10,565.47. The Sensex opened at 10,368.75 and steadily moved up to an intraday high of 10,573.29, before settling at the slightly lower closing level. Sustained buying interest in auto, cement, power and IT stocks pushed up the Sensex. The top gainer on the BSE Sensex was cement manufacturer ACC, which shot up by 8.8% to close at Rs 683.10, followed by Maruti, India"s largest automobile company, up 7.6% to close at Rs 884.80. Bharti Tele, the leading telecom company in India, rose 4.5%. Auto stocks continued to surge after the finance minister proposed cuts in duties on small cars and key raw materials including steel and plastic in the budget proposals for 2006-07. Bajaj Auto gained 4.4% to close at Rs 2715.40 on reports that the auto major was expected to close the 2005-06 fiscal year with sales growth of 35%. The company also won a 33.1% share of the Indian motorcycle market during February. Hero Honda gained 1.1% to close at Rs 896.15. Along with ACC, the cement concerns Grasim and Gujarat Ambuja gained ground. Even though the cement sector found no mention in the budget proposals, the continued emphasis on infrastructure development is expected to boost cement demand in India. Britannia Industries gained 6.5% and Godrej Consumer Products rose 3.3% thanks to the priority the food-processing industry was given in the latest proposals from the finance ministry. Nestle India, a unit of Nestle SA of Switzerland, jumped 7.5% to close at Rs 1138.85. Ready-to eat packaged food and instant food mixes for idlis and dosas are expected to become cheaper as duties have been reduced by half. India's fourth-biggest software services exporter, Satyam Computer Services ( SAY), rallied 4.2% to close at Rs 801.45 on the news that the company has plans to set up operations in Guangzhou, China.
Market sentiment was also favoring power companies and firms manufacturing equipment for the power sector. Bhel was up 4.2% to Rs 2110.30 and Alstom Projects rose by 7.7% to Rs 354.45. The top loser on the BSE Sensex was oil exploration company ONGC, which lost 1.3% to close at Rs 1121.55. RIL was down 0.1% to close at Rs 707.90.