MUMBAI: Market benchmark Sensex extended its rally for the second session today, soaring 167 points to end near five-month highs on widespread buying in pharma and bank counters.
Pharma stocks were galvanised by a slew of approvals granted by foreign regulators, while HDFC Bank zoomed to its 52-week high after RBI yesterday allowed foreign investors to increase stake in the lender.
The central bank put HDFC Bank back on the FII ban list after foreign shareholding exceeded the prescribed limit of 74 per cent within hours of trading.
Sentiment also got a boost after RBI Governor Urjit Patel said India's economic growth will make a "sharp V" recovery after a short drop in the aftermath of demonetisation.
The 30-share BSE Sensex, which opened higher with a gap at 28,670.43, touched a high of 28,726.26 after participants widened their bets on foreign fund inflows amid persistent buying by domestic institutional investors.
However, profit-booking dragged it to a low of 28,410.91, before the gauge finally settled 167.48 points, or 0.59 per cent higher at 28,468.75. cent. The Sensex last closed at 28,668.22 on September 23, 2016.
The index had gained 145.71 points in the previous session.
The 50-share NSE Nifty, after moving between 8,896.45 and 8,804.25, finally settled 43.70 points, or 0.50 per cent higher at 8,821.70.
For the better part of the day, both the key indices remained in the tight grip of bull operators, forcing bears to remain on the sidelines.
Both Sensex and Nifty recorded their fourth straight weekly gains by surging 134.50 points, or 0.47 per cent, and 28.15 points, or 0.32 per cent, respectively.
HDFC Bank skyrocketed to Rs 1,450, before succumbing to profit-booking and closing at Rs 1,377.15, up 3.75 per cent.
Sun Pharma emerged as the star performer and closed 4.03 per cent up at Rs 675.45, while Cipla rallied 1.58 per cent to Rs 592.60.
"Today's rally was led by banking stocks, particularly backed by HDFC Bank. HDFC Bank stock rose by over 9 per cent in early trade after RBI removed restrictions imposed on foreign investors' holdings," online broking firm Upstox's Director Raghu Kumar said.
Meanwhile, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold shares worth a net Rs 215.69 crore yesterday, as per provisional data.
Globally, Asia and Europe traded lower after Wall Street's Trump-fuelled surge finally came to an end.
Japan's Nikkei fell 0.58 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.31 per cent and Shanghai composite declined 0.85 per cent.
In Europe, key indices such as London's FTSE, Paris CAC 40 and Frankfurt fell by up to 0.69 per cent in early trade.