Reliance Industries shares hit their one-year high in early trade on Monday, but closed off the day's high on profit taking. RIL had posted its first profit increase after four quarters of declining returns on Friday. RIL, controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, is India's biggest firm by market capitalization.
RIL shares closed 2.2 per cent higher at Rs 919.95 on the NSE after earlier gaining as much as 6 per cent to a 52-week high of Rs 955.
RIL's strong results was on the back of improving margins in its core oil refining business, which contributes two-thirds to the company's net sales. RIL reported an average gross refining margin of $9.6 a barrel for the quarter, compared with $6.8 a year earlier and $9.5 in the previous three months.
"The company has exceeded expectations. RIL has reported its highest ever EBITDA margins in the refining business and petrochemical volumes were stable (and their margins improved)," market analyst Sushil Choksey told NDTV Profit.
Net profit climbed a greater-than-expected 24 per cent in its fiscal third-quarter through December to Rs 5,502 crore, on net sales up more than 10 per cent from a year earlier to Rs 93,890 crore.
"In 2013, the shale gas business will be the biggest surprise. This segment will soon turn into a billion dollar segment," Mr Choksey said.
Global brokerages such as Macquarie, Nomura and CLSA had earlier upgraded RIL and raised their target price even before the results were announced. Others like Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank have also upped their target on RIL to over Rs 1,000.
RIL shares rose nearly 20 per cent in 2012 against a 26 per cent increase in the Sensex. But this year might turn out to be different, analysts said.
"The stock would stabilise in a new range of Rs 850-1000 depending on how the markets perform," Mr Choksey said.
(With inputs from Reuters)