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Benchmark indices continue to trade firm tracking strong global cues along with buying demand among financials and oil shares leading the gains.

Stocks across the globe surged after the US Federal Reserve kept interest rates steady on Wednesday and indicated that moderate US growth and “strong job gains” would allow it to tighten policy this year.

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Dhananjay Sinha, Head- Institutional Research, Economist & Strategist, Emkay Global Financial Services says,” the Fed may have underplayed the fact the strength in the labor market and fact that various measures of core inflation are already close to 2%. There is clear sign that the impact of import price deflation is dissipating fast. It is quite possible in our view, as transitory drags on inflation diminishes core PCE inflation could rise to Fed’s 2% target sooner than expected. In sum, Fed’s statement can be considered balanced with a tinge of hawkishness.”

By 10:10 am, the S&P BSE Sensex was higher by 215 points at 24,898 and the Nifty50 climbed 73 points at 7,573.

Banking shares are trading higher on expectation that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may soon announce a reduction in key policy rate. The central bank’s monetary policy review is scheduled for April 5, 2016.

ICICI Bank, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Federal Bank, State Bank of India, Yes Bank and Canara Bank are up more than 1% each on the National Stock Exchange (NSE).

Shares of oil marketing companies (OMCs) such as Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL), Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) rallied more than 3% each after the petrol and diesel prices was hiked on Wednesday.

Idea Cellular is up nearly 2% at Rs 100 on the BSE after the company said by mutual written consent it has terminated the agreement with Videocon Telecommunications Ltd for acquisition of right to use spectrum in the telecom service areas of Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh (West) for an aggregate consideration of approximately Rs 3,310 crore.

Updated at 9:30 am

Markets made a strong opening on the back of firm global cues as investors cheered the US Federal Reserve’s decision to hold interest rates steady on Wednesday.

ALSO READ: US Fed keeps interest rates steady

The Fed concluded its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday leaving interest rates untouched, thus signalling fewer rate hikes in coming months as the United States continues to face risks from an uncertain global economy.

By 9:30 am, the S&P BSE Sensex was higher by 211 points at 24,893 and the Nifty50 climbed 69 points at 7,567. The broader markets are trading firm in line with the benchmark indices- BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices are up almost 1%.

According to Anand Rathi’s morning report,” Nifty has to continue to hold the support of 7,450 zones to get a bounce back move towards 7,600-7,620 levels. On the downside if it fails to hold 7,400 zone then only momentum may fizzle out and index may drag down towards 7,365-7,350 zones. Market now requires a follow up buying and shifting of base to higher levels to continue its upswing led by support based buying in next coming sessions”.

On Wednesday, markets recouped intra-day losses to end higher, tracking firm European cues, amid buying in late trades led by ITC and Infosys.

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Meanwhile, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 625.58 crore yesterday as per provisional data released by the stock exchanges.

Among overseas markets, Asian shares gained across the board on Thursday and the dollar was on the defensive after suffering substantial losses as risk appetite revived after the U.S. Federal Reserve reduced the number of interest rate hikes expected this year.

The potential for more money to continue flowing into commodities and equities, rather being lured by higher US interest rates, boosted crude oil and emerging market stocks.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan climbed to a two-month high and was last up 2.1%. Japan’s Nikkei brushed aside a stronger yen and advanced 1.4%. Australian stocks added 0.8%, South Korea’s Kospi rose 1.2% and Shanghai was up 0.6%.

Back home, BSE Metal and Oil & Gas indices have surged by almost 2%.

Indian Oil Corp, Oil India and Bharat Petroleum have signed an agreement to buy stakes in Russia’s Taas-Yuriakh oil field in East Siberia for about $1.3 billion (about Rs 8,750 crore).  BPCL,IOC and Oil India are up 1%-3%.

Further, Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL) announced an increase in the price of petrol and diesel with effect from today.

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Tata Group said its revenue from defence and aerospace business is expected to have a 7.5% annual increase to Rs 2,650 crore by the end of current financial year. Shares of Tata Steel andTata Motors have gained almost 2%.

Banking shares are trading higher on the bourses on expectation that the RBI may cut the policy rate any time between now and a scheduled monetary policy review on April 5.

The US Federal Reserve kept its key interest rates unchanged on Wednesday, and downgraded its forecast for number of rate increases to 2 in 2016 from the earlier projected 4.

ICICI Bank, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Federal Bank, State Bank of India, Yes Bank and Canara Bank are up more than 1% each on the National Stock Exchange (NSE).

ICICI Bank, the country’s largest private sector lender, has launched a mobile solution that allows customers to make payments with their linked cards to the bank’s “Pockets” offering, by just tapping the mobile phone. Shares of ICICI Bank are up almost 3%.

Indian mining giant Adani today took a step forward in realising its 21.7 billion dollars coal mine in Australia by concluding the final landholder compensation agreement, a day after it received the backing of the Queensland’s Parliament for the controversy-hit project. Adani Ports has gained over 2%.

Other notable gainers are HDFC, Maruti Suzuki, Axis Bank, L&T and SBI.