After days of trading flat, the markets surged ahead with a rally on Friday. The NSE Nifty was up by 0.66 per cent, or 152 points, reaching 22,129.05, while the BSE Sensex stood at 72,923, up by 0.58 per cent, or 423 points. A total of 3,035 stocks were actively traded, with 2,377 advancing, 576 declining, and 82 remaining unchanged. At 9:30 am on Friday, 85 stocks hit a 52-week high, 16 hit a 52-week low.

Devarsh Vakil, Deputy Head of Retail Research at HDFC Securities, said, “Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were trading on a mixed note as investors await China’s official PMI reading for February, and assess U.S. China’s PMI data, scheduled for release later today, is estimated to be at 48.8 in February, lower than the reading of 49.2 in the preceding month, due to a week-long holiday impacting activities.”

Surpassing analysts’ expectations, India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) registered robust growth of 8.4 per cent on an annual basis in the third quarter (October-December), compared to 8.1 per cent in the previous quarter, as per data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO) on Thursday. The numbers for Q1 and Q2 FY24 have also been revised upwards to 8.2 per cent (from 7.8 per cent) and 8.1 per cent (from 7.6 per cent) respectively.

Nifty ended the choppy session higher on Feb 29. Monthly F&O expiry and MSCI rebalancing volumes resulted in the last 30-minute rise in values and volumes. At close, Nifty was up 0.14 per cent or 31.7 points at 21,982. Over February, Nifty rose by 1.18 per cent. Nifty took support from a short-term uptrend line. Nifty could now stay in the 21,801-22,202 band for the near term. Indian markets are set to open flat to positive in line with mixed Asian market cues.

Major gainers on the NSE at 9.30 am include ONGC (2.99 per cent), BPCL (2.98 per cent), Tata Steel (2.73 per cent), Bajaj Auto (2.21 per cent), and Tata Motors (2.11 per cent). Major losers include Apollo Hospitals (-1.43 per cent), Sun Pharma (-0.70 per cent), Infosys (-0.40 per cent), SBI Life (-0.33 per cent), and HCL Tech (-0.26 per cent).

BSE Smallcap was up by 0.88 per cent, and Midcap was up by 0.49 per cent, indicating gains.