Posting gains for the third successive session, the key benchmark indices settled on a firm note today. Major support to the market came in from the metal and oil sector stocks. Buying was witnessed in mid-caps and small-caps, as reflected in the strong market breadth.

After sliding in early trade tracking weak Asian stocks, the market moved higher in the later half of the trading session as buying intensified after Asian markets recovered. European markets, which opened after Indian markets, were trading in the green.

India's wholesale price index rose 4.07% in the 12 months to 2 February 2008, marginally lower than the previous week's rise of 4.11%, government data released today afternoon showed.

The 30-share BSE Sensex rose 348.62 points or 1.96% at 18,115.25. Sensex rose 376.29 points at day's high of 18,142.92, at the fag end of the session. Sensex lost 321.58 points at the day's low of 17,445.05, hit in early trade.

The broader CNX S&P Nifty was up 100.90 points or 1.94% at 5302.90.

From a recent low of 16,608.01 on 12 February 2008, Sensex has advanced 1507.24 points or 9.07% in three trading sessions.

The BSE Mid-Cap index rose 1.87% to 7,592.08. It underperformed the Sensex. The BSE Small-Cap rose 2.27% at 9,621.13. It outperformed the Sensex.

The market breadth was strong: On BSE, 1983 stocks advanced as compared to 763 that declined. 47 stocks remained unchanged.

BSE clocked a turnover of Rs 6372 crore as against Rs 5,735.81 crore on Thursday, 14 February 2008.

The Nifty February 2008 futures were at 5276.90, at a discount of 26 points as compared to the spot closing of 5302.90.

The NSE's futures & options (F&O) segment turnover was Rs 42675.67 crore, which was higher than Rs 37973.36 crore on Thursday, 14 February 2008.

India's largest private sector firm by market capitalization and oil refiner Reliance Industries rose 3.02% at Rs 2,590.55. The company has reportedly secured approval from the Supreme Court to build part of an underground pipeline from the Krishna Godavari basin through a bird sanctuary.

India's largest private sector bank by assets ICICI Bank rose 2.48% to Rs 1,191.15.

Among the other Sensex gainers, Hindalco Industries (up 9.01% to Rs 178.50), Tata Steel (up 5.12% to Rs 818.50), Bajaj Auto (up 4.78% to Rs 2,174.75), State Bank of India (up 4.21% to Rs 2,297.95) and Ranbaxy Laboratories (up 4.20% to Rs 396.15), advanced.

Among the Sensex losers, Maruti Suzuki (down 2.13% to Rs 812.75), Grasim Industries (down 1.13% to Rs 2,814.20), TCS (down 0.30% to Rs 871.50), Ambuja Cements (down 0.30% to Rs 115.85) and Satyam Computer (down 0.05% to Rs 438.20), declined.

The BSE Metal index rose 3.49% to 16,167.16. It outperformed the Sensex. Hindustan Zinc (up 4.53% to Rs 591), Jindal Saw (up 4.12% to Rs 821.90), Ispat Industries (up 3.69% to Rs 43.60), National Aluminum Company (up 3.52% to Rs 361.65) and Steel Authority of India (up 3.32% to Rs 220.85), edged higher.

Oil stocks moved up after the government announced hike in petrol and diesel prices by Rs 2 and Rs 1 respectively on Thursday, 14 February 2008. The BSE Oil & Gas index rose 3.08% to 11,269.09. It outperformed the Sensex. Essar Oil (up 9.77% to Rs 234.90), Indian Oil Corporation (up 4.45% to Rs 560.65), Gail India (up 4.15% to Rs 427.95), HPCL (up 3.75% to Rs 308.75), Reliance Natural Resources (up 3.71% to Rs 136.95) and ONGC (0.74% to Rs 1,033.30), gained.

The BSE Realty index rose 3.49% to 10,497.27. It outperformed the Sensex. Unitech (up 6.72% to Rs 417.15), Ansal Properties and Infrastructure (up 5% to Rs 234.05), Mahindra Lifespace Developers (up 2.81% to Rs 650.85), Omaxe (up 2.42% to Rs 273.35) and DLF (up 1.63% to Rs 878.95), moved up.

Real estate developer Indiabulls Real Estate spurted 5.24% to Rs 656.55 after it sold 37.5% in its power unit for Rs 1580 crore to two investors including to private equity venture of steel magnate Laxmi Mittal.

Software stocks lagged behind following overnight decline in the US market. The BSE IT index rose merely 0.95% to 3,879.98. It underperformed the Sensex. Infosys Technologies (up 1.13% to Rs 1,564.75) and Wipro (up 1.08% to Rs 420.25), gained. TCS (down 0.30% to Rs 871.50) and Patni Computer (down 0.45% to Rs 256.35), declined. Indian IT firm earn more than half of their revenues from the US market.

Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group firm Reliance Power rose 3.96% to Rs 384.70 on volume of 1.17 crore shares on BSE. On Monday, 11 February 2008, the stock had debuted at Rs 547.80, a premium of Rs 21.73% over the IPO price of Rs 450.

Another ADAG firm Reliance Capital rose 4.33% to Rs 2080.95. Reliance Capital Asset Management Company today said it has mopped up Rs 5,660 crore in its new fund offer Reliance Natural Resources Fund.

Reliance Power clocked the highest turnover of Rs 444.54 crore on BSE. Reliance Natural Resources (Rs 395.85 crore), Reliance Energy (Rs 260.65 crore), Reliance Petroleum (Rs 253.30 crore) and Reliance Capital (Rs 241.27 crore), were the turnover toppers on BSE in that order.

Reliance Natural Resources reported highest volume of 2.95 crore shares on BSE. Ispat Industries (1.76 crore shares), Reliance Petroleum (1.53 crore shares), IFCI (1.36 crore shares) and Reliance Power (1.17 crore shares), were the volume toppers on BSE in that order.

In Europe, key indices in UK, France and Germany were up 0.22% to 0.38%.

Asian markets recovered from initial fall. Key indices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan were up 0.14% to 1.46%. Key indices in South Korea, China and Japan were down by 0.03% to 1.21%.

The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 175.26 points, or 1.40%, to 12,376.98 on Thursday, 14 February 2008. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 18.35 points, or 1.34%, to 1,348.86, and the Nasdaq composite index dropped 41.39 points, or 1.74%, to 2,332.54.

Reiterating the government's target for average expansion in the next few years, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told media on Thursday, 14 February 2008 that India can sustain close to 9% economic growth. India's economy expanded 9.6% in the last fiscal year.