In restricted movement, the BSE benchmark Sensex today closed 56 points up on late buying in banking and auto stocks as slight slip in inflation raised hopes that RBI may lower lending rate at annual credit policy announcement on Tuesday.
After moving between 17,010.16 and 17,173.06, the BSE 30-stock index, Sensex, closed 56.44 points or 0.33% up at 17,150.95. In all, 15 stocks advanced and 14 decline, while Wipro closed unchanged.
The NSE 50-stock index Nifty rose 18.75 points or 0.36% at 5,226.20. It had touched a low of 5,183.50.
Brokers said investors picked up banking and auto stocks after inflation eased marginally to 6.89% in March from 6.95% in February, raising hopes that the Reserve Bank may cut lending (repo) rates by 0.25%.
The banking sector index gained 1.22% at 12,028.61, as SBI, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Ltd, IDBI Bank, PNB, Indusind, Bank of India and Yes Bank made gains.
The auto sector index gained the most by rising 1.31% to 10,288.94 and real estate index by one per cent to 1,781.47. Capital goods rose by 1.10% to 10,009.30.
The top two heavyweights on the Sensex -- Reliance Industries and Infosys fell 0.39%, 1.41% respectively.