The winning run for markets continued for the sixth straight session, with the BSE Sensex reversing all its losses to close about 135 points higher at 24,793.96 -- a 5-week high -- on continued expectations that RBI would bring down the policy rate.
Some fag-end buying saved the day as Nifty reclaimed the 7,500-level.
Most Asian markets remained weak, taking cues from overnight losses in the US following lacklustre Chinese trade data and retreat in crude prices.
The 30-share Sensex opened lower, but across-the-board buying towards the late session, backed up by a higher opening in Europe, meant that the index recovered and ended the day higher by 134.73 points, or 0.55%, at 24,793.96 -- its highest closing in five weeks.
It had ended at 24,824.83 on February 1, 2016. The benchmark had gained 1,657.23 points in the previous five sessions in a row.
The 50-issue NSE Nifty went past the crucial 7,500-mark and closed higher by 46.50 points, or 0.62%, at 7,531.80.
Intra-day, it hovered between 7,424.30 and 7,539. Brokers said the ongoing bull run has come mostly on hopes of a likely rate cut by the Reserve Bank after the government retained its deficit target for the next fiscal at 3.5% of GDP in Budget 2016-17.
Revival of buying by foreign funds gave sentiment a lift too. Maruti Suzuki was the toast of town as it surged 4% to Rs 3,600 after the carmaker launched its much-awaited compact SUV model ‘Vitara Brezza’. Others that supported the uptrend include L&T, ONGC, Hindustan Unilever, BHEL, RIL, Axis Bank and Infosys.
In the Sensex-30 kitty, 20 ended higher, while 10 including HDFC, Coal India NTPC and Adani Ports, lost due to profit-booking.
Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 775.07 crore on Wednesday, as per provisional data. The BSE capital goods covered the maximum ground by surging 1.63%, followed by realty 1.51%. Power index rose 1.42% while auto went up 1.25%.
The broader markets too were in a better form, in line with the overall trend. The mid-cap index rose 0.94% while small-cap gained 0.04%.
Other Asian markets closed in the red after disappointing Chinese trade data rekindled fears about global growth. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng ended 0.08% lower while Shanghai Composite closed 1.34% lower. Japan’s Nikkei too shed 0.84%. European markets rebounded after two days of decline as investors speculated on further stimulus support from the European Central Bank.