BSE's Midcap index hit a record high of 18,371.38 in the afternoon session on Monday on the back of a strong rally in midcap companies in the metals, financials and public sector undertaking (PSU) segments. Its previous high was 18,321, recorded on 9 January 2018.
In the automobile segment, Ashok Leyland hit a 52-week high of Rs 105.5, up 6.5%, after the company reported a 14% increase in its total commercial vehicle sales at 12,762 units in December 2020. The company had sold a total of 11,168 units in December 2019.
Among metal stocks, Jindal Steel and Power and Steel Authority of India (SAIL) rallied 6% and 5%, respectively. Steel stocks were in demand amid expectations of further improvement in performance due to the realisation of an uptick in the domestic market and progressively lower proportion of exports.
Analysts expect steel demand in India to be extremely strong in 2021 on the back of government's infrastructure investments, production linked incentives, support for the rural economy through infra development. Restarting of construction activities across India and recovery in the auto industry are also likely to support demand.
On Monday, global brokerage Jefferies said that the calendar year 2021 is "likely to be a year of a synchronised pick-up in most major economies".
"Benign monetary policies, and potential stimulus measures also provide strong backup... Indian metals should deliver a strong earnings rebound in FY22," it added.
Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL), Bharat Electronics (BEL), NHPC, Hindustan Aeronautics and Oil India from the PSU sector were up in the range of 3 to 5% while Vodafone Idea, Cholamandalam Investment and Finance Company, Oracle Finance Services Company, Federal Bank, Muthoot Finance and Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services gained between 3 and 4%.
For the calendar year 2021, ICICI Securities expect midcaps and small caps to gain relatively more than the large caps.