The benchmark Sensex on Tuesday shot up 170 points to end at a nearly three-week high on gains in banking, capital goods and auto shares as investors continued to cheer the interim budget proposals, amid firm global cues.
The Sensex, which had gained 271 points in the previous two sessions, resumed stable and moved in a range of 20,685.02 and 20,436.48 intra-day, before concluding at 20,634.21 -- a rise or 170.15 points or 0.83%.
Tuesday's closing level is the highest since January 29 (20,647.30). In three days, Sensex has jumped 440.86 points.
Buying in heavyweights including HDFC, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, L&T, Axis bank, Tata Motors and SBI mainly contributed to the rise. Overall, 21 stocks gained in the 30-share index.
GAIL and ITC led the nine Sensex laggards. Bharti Airtel closed nearly one% lower after the telecom major announced it would buy business and assets of Loop Mobile in Mumbai under a strategic agreement.
The NSE 50-issue CNX Nifty spurted by 53.80 points, or 0.89%, to end at 6,127.10.
"While announcing the Interim Budget, the Finance Minister stated government will contain the fiscal deficit at 4.6% of GDP. This has boosted investor confidence and buying interest was seen. Excise duty cuts in sectors such as Auto and Capital Goods also led to renewed buying," said Rakesh Goyal, senior vice president, Bonanza Portfolio.
Banking stocks lead the upsurge on rising hopes that improving economic growth would boost lending business, traders said. Good capital inflows also boosted the market sentiment as they bought shares worth Rs. 522.82 crore on Monday as per the provisional data by stock exchanges.
Most Asian markets closed in the positive terrain. Key indices from Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan closed with gains between 0.03% and 3.13%. A benchmark index of China ended 0.77% down.
European markets, however, were trading lower on reports that Chinese policy makers drained funds from the financial system. France's CAC was was down by 0.38%, Germany's DAX by 0.16% and the UK's FTSE by 0.21%.
Major Sensex gainers were Axis Bank 4.42%, HDFC 2.99%, ICICI Bank 2.80%, Maruti Suzuki 2.57%, Tata Power 2.45% and L&T 2.02%.
SBI 1.74%, HDFC Bank 1.54%, Tata Steel 1.47%, BHEL 1.42% and Tata Motors 1.32% were also among notable winners.
However, GAIL India dropped by 1.45%, followed by Bharti Airtel 0.95%, ITC 0.80%, Wipro 0.68% and Coal India 0.55%.
Among the S&P BSE sectoral indices, the Bankex rose 2.34%, Capital Goods 2.09%, Power 1.73%, Metal 1.03%, Auto 0.96%, Realty 0.59% and Consumer Durable 0.55%.
Mid-cap and small-cap shares also firmed up on good demand from retail investors as the indices moved up by 0.71% and 0.80% respectively.
Market breadth turned positive as 1,419 stocks ended in the green, 1,218 stocks finished in the red and 182 ruled steady. The total turnover rose to Rs. 1,936.97 crore from Rs. 1,524.26 crore on Monday.