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Closing Bell: Nifty tops 17,500 as banking, auto, IT shares help market race to fresh peaks

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Sensex and Nifty50 soared to record closing highs led by gains across most sectors, after the Cabinet cleared a relieft package for the cash-starved telecom sector and production-linked incentives for certain automakers.

Closing Bell: Nifty tops 17,500 as banking, auto, IT shares help market race to fresh peaks
Indian equity benchmarks raced to fresh record highs on Wednesday amid strong buying interest across most sectors, shrugging off weakness in global markets. Gains in automobile, IT, oil & gas, consumer and PSU banking shares pushed the market higher.
The Union Cabinet's approvals to a relief package for telecom companies and a production-linked incentive scheme for the auto sector boosted investors' sentiment.
The Sensex index ended 476.1 points or 0.8 percent higher at 58,723.2 and the broader Nifty50 benchmark gained 139.45 points or 0.8 percent to settle at 17,519.5 -- both record closing highs. During the session, Sensex and Nifty scaled all-time highs of 58,777.1 and 17,532.7 respectively.
Among blue-chip stocks, NTPC, Bharti Airtel, Coal India, ONGC, Titan, HCL Tech, SBI and IndusInd Bank -- ending with gains of between 2.3 percent and 7.5 percent -- were the top gainers. On the other hand, Tata Consumer, Nestle, Grasim, Bharat Petroleum, Asian Paints and UltraTech -- down between 0.3 percent and one percent -- were the worst hit among the 15 laggards in the Nifty50 universe.
Broader indices outperformed Sensex and Nifty. Nifty Midcap 100 climbed up one percent and Smallcap 100 jumped 0.7 percent. GMR Infra, Tata Power, SRF, Delta Corp and SpiceJet were among the top gainers, and Zee, VGuard, Indiabulls Housing, Nalco and Tanla among the losers.
Some 325 stocks in the BSE 500 index -- the broadest index on the exchange -- moved higher.
"The bulls took control of the market  once again, after spending more than a week in a consolidation range... Recent macroeconomic data and the encouraging pace of vaccinations have boosted the sentiment domestically. However, cues are mixed from the global front so we suggest a check on overnight trades," said Ajit Mishra, VP-Research, Religare Broking.
Most telecom stocks finished higher after the Cabinet at its meeting on Wednesday gave nod to a moratorium of four years for the telecom sector to clear adjusted gross revenue-related dues. Heavyweight Bharti Airtel ended 4.5 percent higher and Vodafone Idea rose 2.8 percent. (Read more on the telecom relief package)
It also cleared a Rs 26,000 crore PLI scheme for the auto sector. Maruti Suzuki rose 0.3 percent, Tata Motors 1.8 percent, M&M 0.8 percent, Ashok Leyland 2.9 percent and Eicher Motors 0.6 percent. Bajaj Auto ended one percent higher, but TVS fell 0.5 percent. (Read more on the PLI scheme)
The scheme will incentivise makers of electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and not cover petrol, diesel and CNG vehicle manufacturers.
The Nifty Media index fell, and was the only laggard among NSE's sectoral gauges, as most components gave up some of the sharp gains in the previous session. Zee Entertainment Enterprises dropped 2.1 percent, after it passed all the resolutions in its 39th annual general meeting.
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Overall market breadth was in favour of bulls with an advance-decline ratio of 3:2, as 2,060 stocks rose while 1,240 fell on BSE.
Meanwhile, European markets fell amid concerns about slowing Chinese and global economies. The benchmark STOXX 600 index was last seen trading 0.1 percent lower in early hours. S&P E-Mini futures were up 0.2 percent, suggesting a positive start ahead on Wall Street. Earlier in the day, shares in other Asian markets dropped after weak Chinese factory data.