Key Indian equity indices jumped to two-month highs

New Delhi: A third straight week of gains for two key Indian equity indices led them to close on Friday at a two-month-plus high as foreign funds continued to pour in money to pick stocks and the mood getting further lifted by a dovish stand of the US Federal Reserve. The sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE that had closed the week before at 24,717.99 points rose 234.75 points, or nearly 1 percent, during the week to eventually close at 24,952.74 points. The Nifty of the National Stock Exchange gained 94.15 points or 1.25 percent at 7,604.35 points. "Shorts also were seen being unwound as markets geared up for a shortened week ahead, due to Holi, Good Friday holidays. Recovery in Pharma sector post government’s ban on FDC drugs also helped broad market sentiments," said Anand James of Geojit BNP Paribas. "Banks’ gains were limited as finance ministry meets bankers on March 21 as part of cleaning non-performing assets. Meanwhile, rupee also continued its strengthening against the US dollar, testing 66.5." Among the top five advances during the week, four are in state sector. This apart, three of them were banking stocks.  BHEL gained 9.4 percent at Rs.113.35, ICICI BANK gained 7.7 percent at Rs.230.35, GAIL gained 7.2 percent at Rs.364.15, State Bank of India gained 5.9 percent at Rs.191.05 and AXIS Bank gained 5.7 percent at Rs.435.95 The losers included a host of pharmaceutical stocks after the government banned nearly 350 drugs that were not only popular and available off-the-counters, but were adding significantly to the companies' bottomlines.  Lupin lost 16.1 percent at Rs.1,558.90, Coal India lost 6.7 percent at Rs.297.65, Sun Pharma lost 6.0 percent at Rs.815.90, HDFC lost 2.7 percent at Rs.1,127.65 and Asian Paints lost 2.4 percent at Rs.874.90. Among the various sectors, construction gained the most with 4.99 percent, banking followed with 3.90 percent, information technology with 3.03 percent, engineering and capital goods with 2.78 percent and metals with 2.63 percent.  On the other hand, pharmaceuticals lost the maximum, down 6.71 percent, followed by financial 2.54 percent, paints 2.32 percent and energy 0.18 percent.  Foreign funds were net investors in Indian equities during the week, pumping in over Rs.3,300 crore, data with National Securities Depository Ltd showed. In fact, in March thus far, these funds, have invested a net of Rs.11,166 crore in equities. "Nifty prices traded back and forth during the week within the range 7,400-7,600 points," as per an analysis by Edelweiss, adding that the crucial support for the week ahead are placed at 7,510-7,400 and resistance at 7,620-7,780. "If prices break below 7,405 points, we expect the prices to test 7,250 on the downside. But a sustained break above the high would indicate more upside towards 7,740."