Mumbai, Apr 2 (PTI) Commencing the new fiscal on a buoyant note, the benchmark Sensex soared around 287 points to close at 33,255 following a strong rally in auto, pharma and banking counters.

The robust auto sales data triggered a rally in automobile stocks, led by Tata Motors, Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto, Maruti Suzuki and Mahindra and Mahindra — rising up to 3.5 per cent.

Shares of banks too witnessed a keen interest from participants, with Kotak Bank, HDFC Bank and Indusind Bank and Yes bank leading the charge.

However, ICICI Bank shares plummeted nearly 6 per cent, hit by controversy over alleged conflict of interest involving the lender and Videocon Group.

The Indian bourses reopened today after a long weekend due to holidays for Mahavir Jayanti and Good Friday on last Thursday and Friday, respectively.

A positive start in the April derivative series also had an impact on investor sentiments as they indulged in creating fresh positions.

“Markets rallied on account of stellar auto sales and value buying of pharma stocks influenced by US FDA approvals. US stock futures dropped and other Asian markets reversed an early advance, where volume was low as many markets remained closed… Back home investors are focusing on upcoming RBI policy while consensus shows status quo on key rates due to declining yield and inflation,” Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services Ltd, said.

However, other Asian markets showed subdued trends turned after initial firmness due to profit-taking in late trade and any absence of cues form European markets that were closed for Easter.

The Sensex after a gap-up opening to regain the 33,000-mark advanced to hit a high of 33,289.34 before terminating at 33,255.36, showing a hefty gain of 286.68 points, or 0.87 per cent. The gauge had lost 205.71 points on the last session of FY18 on Wednesday.

The NSE 50-share Nifty also spurted by 98.10 points, or

0.97 per cent, to end at 10,211.80 after moving in a range of 10,220.10 and 10,127.75.

Meanwhile, domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 1,960.67 crore on Wednesday, while foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold shares worth a net Rs 1,190.55 crore last Wednesday, as per provisional data released by stock exchanges.

In the auto sector, India’s largest automaker Maruti Suzuki climbed 1.65 per cent, to end at Rs 9,009.05 after reporting a 14.9 per cent rise in vehicle sales for March; while Tata Motors rose 3.47 per cent to Rs 338.80 on the back of encouraging monthly sales data.

Automaker Mahindra & Mahindra also gained 0.86 per cent to Rs 746.60 after the company today reported a 10 per cent increase in total sales at 62,077 units in March as against 56,202 units for the same month last year. Bajaj Auto and Hero MotoCorp too gained 2.22 per cent and 2.68 per cent.

Kotak Bank emerged as the top gainer in the Sensex kitty by surging 4.65 per cent to Rs 1,097.40, followed by Adani Ports at 4.55 per cent to Rs 370.80.

Other winners in the Sensex-pack included Wipro, Asian Paint, Sun Pharma, Dr Reddy, HDFC Bank, TCS, L&T, Hindustan Unilever, Tata Steel, ONGC, RIL, IndusInd Bank, ITC Ltd, HDFC Ltd, Yes Bank, Power Grid, NTPC and Infosys, gaining up to 2.95 per cent.

Besides ICICI Bank, other losers were Axis Bank, Coal India, SBI and Bharti Airtel, falling up to 2.20 per cent.

Sectoriwse, the BSE healthcare index gained the most by surging 2.48 per cent, followed by auto index 2.14 per cent, capital goods 2.03 per cent, infrastructure 1.84 per cent, FMCG 1.44 per cent, power 1.29 per cent, IT 1.28 per cent, teck 1.05 per cent, metal 0.70 per cent, realty 0.51 per cent and consumer durables 0.43 per cent. While bankex, PSU and oil and gas ended in the negative terrain.

In line with overall trend, buying activity also extended to the broader markets with the smallcap index rising 2.35 per cent and midcap index 1.40 per cent.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei was down 0.31 per cent, while Shanghai’s Composite Index shed 0.18 per cent. Hong Kong marketrs remained closed today for a public holiday.

European markets were shut on account of Easter.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.