The Bombay Stock Exchange Sensex closed 28.26 points higher at 28,892.97 and the National Stock Exchange Nifty ended 12.60 points higher at 8,939.50 as Indian markets ended Thursday on a flat note after sharp gains during early trading. The Sensex had crossed the 29,000-point mark for the first time since September 8, 2016, and the Nifty climbed to a 23-month high of 8,970 after February’s Futures and Options expired on Thursday, NDTV reported.
Telecom stocks were among the day’s biggest gainers as investors continued to focus on mergers and acquisitions in the sector in the wake of competition from Reliance Jio. Bharti Airtel’s shares ended 1.50% higher at Rs 366.40 after the company announced that it was buying Norwegian telecom operator’s Telenor’s Indian operations. Idea Cellular Limited also rose by 6.39% to Rs 119.80 a share after reports said that the entity formed by the merger of the company with Vodafone India might sell 15%-20% of its stake to investors.
IT stocks also rallied, with Tata Consultancy Services rising by 2.80% to Rs 2,479 a share. HCL Technologies Limited and Infosys Limited also rose by 0.68% and 1.66%. The Nifty IT index ended in the green, rising 1.66% to 10,689.65. The BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices also ended 0.19% and 0.11% higher.
However, analysts said markets could enter a consolidation phase because of global factors including rate hikes by the United States Federal Reserve. Quantum Securities Director Neeraj Dewan said that while Indian markets had been “fairly positive in the last few days”, gains had mostly been “triggered by stock-specific moves”.