Equity benchmarks Sensex and Nifty rallied 1.5% in intraday trade on Friday, hitting fresh all-time high levels, as investors cheered higher-than-expected growth in the December quarter (Q3) gross domestic product (GDP) numbers. The market sentiment was also lifted by firm cues from global peers as ease in U.S. inflation pushed Wall Street and Asian stocks higher.

The 30-share Sensex surged as much as 1,090 points to touch a fresh record high of 73,590, while the Nifty50 climbed 330 points to scale a new peak of 22,300. In line with benchmark indices, the broader market also witnessed strong momentum, with BSE midcap and BSE smallcap rising up to 0.6%. The market breadth, indicating overall strength, was strong, with 2,546 shares, out of total traded stocks of 4,035, advancing, while 1,333 shares declined and 156 were unchanged.

India's GDP grew 8.4% year-on-year in the October-December quarter of the current fiscal, much higher than the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) monetary policy committee's forecast of 6.5% for Q3 FY24. The strong growth in GDP was driven by double-digit growth in the manufacturing sector (11.6%), followed by 9.5% growth in the construction sector, the NSO says in a statement released on Thursday.

"The main factor influencing the market today is better-than-expected Q3 GDP growth number which has come at an impressive 8.4 %...The impressive GDP numbers provide the fundamental support to the bull market. Large caps like RIL, Bharti Airtel, L&T and ICICI Bank have the potential to lead the rally. Tepid private consumption numbers will be a drag on consumer staples stocks like HUL,” says V K Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist, Geojit Financial Services. 

The broad trend of the market, going forward, will be the outperformance of large caps over the broader market, he says.

The top gainers on the BSE Sensex pack were Tata Steel, JSW Steel, Larsen & Toubro, Titan Company, and ICICI Bank, rising in the range of 3-5%. Barring, HCL Technologies, Infosys, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, and Tech mahindra, all Sensex constituents were flashing green.

On the sectoral front, except healthcare and realty sectors, all indices were trading in positive terrain, led by metal and bankex. The metal index was best performer, with index heavyweights, Tata Steel, JSW Steel, Hindalco Industries SAIL, Jindal Steel & Power surging up to 6% after GDP numbers showed that private consumption as well as manufacturing and construction activities improved in December quarter of the current fiscal.

On the other hand, BSE healthcare index was the worst performer among the sectoral indices, falling as much as 0.7%, led by Max Healthcare Institute, Ajanta Pharma, Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences, Syncom Formulation (India), Aster DM Healthcare. 

Shares of Hospital chains such as Max Healthcare, Apollo Hospitals, Fortis Healthcare, Yatharth Hospital, Global Health (Medanta), and others tumbled up to 11% after the Supreme Court asked the central government to fix discrepancies in hospital rates for treatment and procedures across all states. The apex court warned that if the Union government fails to find a solution to fix standard rates for different medical procedures, then it will consider applying Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) prescribed standardised rates at private healthcare facilities.

Among individual stocks, Paytm parent One97 Communications rose up to 4% after the Vijay Shekhar Sharma-led payments company announced final disassociation with its associate entity, Paytm Payments Bank.

Shares of CG Power and Industrial Solutions rallied over 11% in opening trade on Friday after the engineering company announced that its joint venture (JV) with Renesas Electronics Corporation of Japan and Stars Microelectronics of Thailand, will invest ₹7,600 crore to set up a semiconductor unit in Sanand, Gujarat. 

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