Mumbai: Stocks offered a picture of contrast on Thursday as the benchmark Sensex snapped its four-day falling spell after the Rajya Sabha passed the historic GST Bill on Thursday amid signs of strength in global markets.
At the close, it eked out a modest gain of 17 points, reflecting investor worries that the job ahead on the goods and services tax front is by no means easy and will need a great deal of hard work on the part of the Centre and states.
Billed as the biggest tax reform since Independence, the GST Bill was approved by the Rajya Sabha yesterday, which looks to replace a string of local levies with a single tax to turn the country into a unified market.
Shares of auto, realty, infrastructure, power and healthcare led the rebound on good buying push while consumer durables, IT, banking and FMCG melted under selling pressure.
The benchmark opened on a strong footing on sustained foreign capital inflows as investors welcomed the outcome, and on positive Asian cues.
In the beginning, the 30-share Sensex jumped over 224 points, but turned lower after profit booking set in before ending higher by 16.86 points, or 0.06 per cent, at 27,714.37.
The gauge had lost 511.11 points in the previous four straight sessions.
Tata Steel led the pack of gainers, which surged 4.60 per cent to Rs 374.05 after reports that the government has recommended anti-dumping duty on imports of cold-rolled steel products. SAIL climbed 1.85 per cent while JSW Steel rose 1.05 per cent.
The Nifty closed at 8,551.10, up 6.25 points, or 0.07 per cent, after hovering between 8,601.40 and 8,518.15.
Auto stocks were in a sweet spot on expectations that GST implementation will reduce on-road prices for entry-level vehicles and improve their affordability for the end-consumer.
Major gainers in the auto segment were Tata Motors, Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto and Maruti Suzuki as investors widened their bets, lifting share prices by up to 4.41 per cent.
Out of 30 Sensex components, 16 advanced and 14 lost.
BSE realty rose the maximum, up 2.25 per cent, followed by metal 1.53 per cent, auto 1.35 per cent, infrastructure 0.92 per cent and power 0.71 per cent.
Buying activity by retail investors helped the broader markets recover, with small-cap and mid-cap indices gaining up to 0.39 per cent.
Logistic stocks were a mixed lot as uncertainty still prevails with regard to actual road map of the GST execution.
Allcargo Logistics ended 3.09 per cent down while Transport Corporation of India gained 0.74 per cent. Blue Dart Express went up 1.15 per cent.
Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) net purchased shares worth Rs 578.17 crore yesterday, as per provisional data.
Other Asian markets remained firm, with Japan's Nikkei rising 1.07 per cent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng 0.43 per cent.
Shanghai Composite was up 0.13 per cent.
European stocks advanced in their early trade as investors awaited an expected interest rate cut from the Bank of England.