Sensex, Nifty remain strong; Bank index up 1% on rate cut hope

Axis Bank
Equity benchmarks continued to gain in afternoon trade despite sluggish trade in Europe, with the Nifty hovering around 8800 level. Nifty Bank gained 1 percent on hopes of rate cut in forthcoming RBI monetary policy later this week.

IIFL Holdings, Fortis Healthcare, Reliance Industries, Wockhardt, Sun TV Network, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Aurobindo Pharma and Lupin were most active shares on exchanges.

ICICI Bank gained further, rising 3.5 percent followed by ITC and Sun Pharma with 2-3 percent upside.

Cement majors Ambuja Cements and ACC rallied 4-5 percent after sources told CNBC-TV18 that LafargeHolcim, the parent company of both enterprises, is mulling a merger of the two cement majors. LafargeHolcim owns 63 percent in Ambuja Cements that in turn owns a 50.05 percent stake in ACC.

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