Domestic shares edge up, lifted by uptick in consumer and pharma stocks

Domestic stocks rose on Thursday, supported by a slight rise in consumer and pharmaceutical stocks, after The US Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged As expected, but she hinted at the possibility of further increases later this year.

The Nifty 50 super index was up 0.18 percent at 18,789.55 as of 10:29 am IST, while the S&P BSE Sensex was up 0.11 percent at 63,300.21.

Both benchmarks were less than 1 percent below their all-time highs. The medium-cap index hit a new record high on Thursday, while small-cap stocks rose as much as 0.43 percent to hit a 52-week high.

“Not only benchmarks, but small and mid-cap companies have seen an exponential rise in recent weeks,” said Saurabh Jain, associate vice president of retail equity research at SMC Global Securities. “Markets will likely pause, and a slight correction would only be healthy.”

Five out of 13 major sector indices declined, with the heavily weighted IT index down more than 0.5 percent.

IT stocks, which are sensitive to U.S. interest rates due to the large share of revenue earned from the country, fell after the Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged for the first time in 17 months, but cited the need for higher borrowing costs.

Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) stocks advanced 0.6 percent.

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SMC Global’s Jain said the gradual improvement in rural demand and lower prices for key raw materials such as crude oil and soda ash had helped consumer stocks rise.

The pharmaceutical index rose more than 1 percent, with 11 of the 15 components recording gains.

Among individual stocks, Fortis Healthcare and Apollo Hospitals rose more than 3% and 2%, respectively, after global brokerage JP Morgan began covering the stock with “overweight” ratings.