Stock markets rallied for the fourth straight session on Wednesday, with the BSE benchmark Sensex ending 27 points up at 18,300.90 on continued buying by funds and retail investors amid strong third quarter earnings posted by Tata Steel.
In a volatile trade, touching a high of 18,358.84 and a low of 18,216.12, the Bombay Stock Exchange barometer index Sensex ended the day 27.10 points up at 18,300.90.
Buying activity was more pronounced in metals, realty and consumer durables stock.
The gauge had risen nearly 812 points, or over 4.5% in the past three sessions.
National Stock Exchange's broad-based Nifty also ended a shade higher by 0.70 point at 5,481.70 after shuttling between 5,504.80 and 5,460.35.
Stock brokers said reports that foreign funds have been net buyers on the Indian bourses in the past few sessions and strong Q3 earnings posted by Tata Steel buoyed the trading sentiment, triggering buying by retail investors.
Besides, firm openings in European markets influenced the buyers positively.
There was value buying in stocks with strong fundamentals and investor created fresh positions on expectations of a further upward journey in the coming sessions. They shrugged off mixed trend on the other Asian bourses.
Tata Steel shares gained 4.37% at Rs 643.50 after the steelmaker posted an over two-fold jump in consolidated net profit to Rs 1,003.02 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2010.
Sterlite Industries gained 0.15% to Rs 163.80, while Jindal Steel and Power rose 3.97 to Rs 674.80 on hopes of pick up in demand for metals.
The BSE realty sector index gained the most by rising 2.09% to 2,156.96, followed by metal index which rose by 1.65% to 16,020.55.
"Metal stocks emerged as the centre of brisk activity during the session, helping Sensex to maintain its winning streak," said Manaoj Choraria, a Delhi-based stock broker.
He said continued short-covering in select heavy-weight stocks too supported the upward trend.
Among banking counters, the country's largest lender, State Bank of India finished 0.90% to Rs 2,752.95, while the private sector player ICICI Bank up 0.01% to Rs 1,053.15.
Nine of the 13 sectoral indices ended the session in the positive zone, with the metal and realty, outperforming others.