A sudden reversal in inflation and intense speculation over Reliance Industries' performance in the third quarter played spoilsport in markets on Thursday as the benchmark index fell sharply from the day's high but still ended marginally higher by nearly 35 points.
The BSE barometer ended at 8,813.84, up by 34.67 points from its last close, cutting short its losing streak of the past two days. It has lost 550 points in the last two days.
The broader 50-share Nifty of the NSE also improved by 7.65 points to close at 2,713.80.
While there was intense speculation that RIL would come out with poor numbers, another blue-chip Bharti Aitel surprised markets with a 25 per cent rise in profit. Aitrel closed up 6.19 per cent, the biggest gain among Sensex stocks.
Some marketmen said Sensex may have gained only 35 points but the sentiment has got a real boost after Bharti Airtel announced handsome results. On other hand, some others said RIL, which would announce the results later in the day, is expected to disappoint the market.
RIL, which has the highest weight in the Sensex, moved between Rs 1,107.10 and 1,153.40 before ending 1.21 per cent higher at Rs 1,132.95 on late buying support at the day's lower levels.
Markets opened on a strong note on positive trends from the Asian bourses which closed in the range of 0.13 per cent to 2.0 per cent. The indices in the region were bolstered by Wall Street where Dow netted a gain of 3.5 per cent overnight. Another boosting factor was that banking stocks, which were hit in the past two day in US, Europe and Asia, recovered.
However, a rise in inflation snapping 10-week long streak of decline doused the sentiment. The rate of price rise increased 5.60 per cent for the week ended January 10.