Equity benchmarks Sensex and Nifty extended their gains for the second straight session on Wednesday, mainly due to buying in healthcare, financial and commodity stocks amid a firm trend in global equities.
However, sustained foreign fund outflows from the domestic equity markets capped the rise, traders said.
In a largely range-bound session, the 30-share BSE Sensex advanced 139.91 points or 0.24 per cent to settle at 58,214.59, with 18 of its constituents posting gains. During the day, the index witnessed a high of 58,418.78 and a low of 58,063.50.
The broader NSE Nifty climbed 44.40 points or 0.26 per cent to end at 17,151.90, with 33 of its scrips ending in the green.
"Staying afloat in a volatile trade, the domestic market managed to remain positive, with the optimism that the global banking system issue is behind us. Additionally, the volatility brought in from western markets ahead of the announcement of Fed policy and release of high UK inflation, tested market sentiments.
"The market has factored a 25 bps rate hike by Fed, and an in-line and less hawkish policy stance will attract bulls," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.
Among the Sensex stocks, Bajaj Finance, Bajaj Finserv, Sun Pharma, IndusInd Bank, Tata Motors, ICICI Bank, Tata Consultancy Services, Hindustan Unilever and Power Grid were the major gainers.
NTPC, Axis Bank, Nestle, HCL Technologies and HDFC Bank were the major laggards.
In the broader market, the BSE smallcap gauge gained 0.54 per cent and the midcap climbed 0.18 per cent.
Healthcare, commodities, FMCG, utilities, financial services and oil & gas were among the gainers.
On the other hand, telecommunication, consumer durables, metal and realty ended lower.
"Nifty rose for the second consecutive session on March 22 after a range-bound session. Asian stocks rose on Wednesday while European stocks struggled for momentum after a tentative recovery in the past two sessions, with investors looking ahead to a crucial monetary policy decision from the Federal Reserve amid turmoil in the banking sector," said Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research, HDFC Securities.
In Asia, Seoul, Japan, Hong Kong and Shanghai markets ended in the green.
Equity markets in Europe were trading in positive territory during the afternoon trade. The US markets ended significantly higher on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, global oil benchmark Brent crude dipped 0.31 per cent to USD 75.09 per barrel.
Foreign Portfolio Investors offloaded equities worth Rs 1,454.63 crore on Tuesday, according to exchange data.
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