itc, itc q3 results, itc share price, shares at 52-week high, buzzing stocks, pre budget rally, budget 2017
A man talks on his mobile phone as he walks past an ITC office building in Kolkata September 4, 2012.Reuters file

Budget 2017 may have raised triggered speculations of a tough going for the Modi government, but stock markets are on a roll. The sort-of pre-budget rally has seen benchmark indices gaining for the fourth straight day on Friday. In all, 31 stocks had hit a new 52-week high by 2.30 pm and these included ITC, HPCL, BPCL, IOC, NPTC, GAIL (India), Hindalco, CESC and Adani Enterprises. 

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The BSE Sensex gained as much as 272 points intraday to 27,980 before climbing down to 27,879 at around 2.35 pm. ICICI Bank gained 5.80 percent intraday, but shed gains later to trade 4.79 percent higher at Rs 272.  The BSE Bankex was outperforming the benchmark index.

ICICI Prudential Life Insurance too has been gaining steadily over the past few sessions, bringing cheer to investors who were disappointing with its listing at a discount last September. The stock was trading at Rs 354 on Friday, a gain of 16 percent since January 2, 2017.

Most of the 52-week high stocks were from the oil and marketing or metals space.

ITC declared its December quarter (Q3) results during the day. The company reported 5.7 percent increase in standalone net profit to Rs 2,647 crore in comparison to Rs 2,504 crore in the corresponding period last year. Total income grew 4.69 percent to Rs 13,570 crore from Rs 12,961 crore in the year-ago period.

Cigarette sales rose to Rs 8,287 crore in Q3 from Rs 8,106 crore in the year-go period and constituted about 58 percent of the total income in Q3. 

"The performance of the Cigarette Business during the quarter was subdued on account of tight liquidity conditions prevailing in the market and continued regulatory and taxation pressures on the legal Cigarette industry in India," ITC said in a statement.

"According to an independent study, India is now the 4th largest market for illegal cigarettes in the world...illegal trade comprising smuggled foreign and domestically manufactured tax-evaded cigarettes is estimated to constitute one-fifth of the overall cigarette industry...and estimated to cost the exchequer a revenue loss of more than Rs 9000 crores per annum," the company added.

The stock was trading 2.57 percent down at Rs 257 after hitting a 52-week high of Rs 266.

In the previous trading sessions since Monday this week, the Sensex has gained 672 points, excluding Friday. 

Budget 2017 will be presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on February 1, 2017 amid expectations of incentives to individual tax payers in the form of higher exemption limits and likely reduction in corporate tax rates. Markets are also factoring in tweaking of tax rules pertaining to capital gains.