Mumbai: Benchmark Sensex ticked higher for the sixth straight session to close above 34,000-mark on Thursday, fuelled by a robust rally in IT shares, even as global markets remained skittish on geopolitical concerns.
The BSE IT index was the star performer, spurting 3.18 per cent, as a weak rupee boosted the appeal of software exporters. Index heavyweights TCS, Infosys as well as Wipro ended with smart gains.
The 30-share BSE Sensex advanced 160 points to end at 34,101.13, while the broader NSE Nifty rose 41.50 points to 10,458.65.
Globally, investor sentiment was tense on concerns of the US and Russia heading for a showdown in Syria.
However, domestic markets brushed off the negative cues on the back of fresh capital inflows by foreign funds and unabated buying by domestic institutional investors (DIIs), while quiet optimism prevailed ahead of the earnings season, brokers said.
The 30-share Sensex resumed higher and advanced to 34,177.44, but soon slipped on profit-taking to touch a low of 33,924.28. It finally ended 160.69 points, or 0.47 per cent, higher at 34,101.13.
This is its highest closing since February 28, when it had closed at 34,184.04.
The gauge has now gained 1,082.06 points in six sessions.
The NSE 50-share index, after moving between 10,469.90 and 10,395.25, finally concluded at 10,458.65, up 41.50 points, or 0.40 per cent.
Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) bought shares worth Rs 362.30 crore on net basis, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought equities to the tune of Rs 111.82 crore on Wednesday, provisional data showed.
"The market gained some momentum led by rally in IT stocks ahead of Q4 earnings expectation. Global market is trading in a negative bias due to geopolitical tensions in Middle East. March CPI inflation is due today and is expected to decline further to 4.2 per cent.
"However, rise in oil price and weakening rupee may cast cloud over the inflation trajectory and market sentiment," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
Meanwhile, Moody's Investors Service today said the pick-up in economic growth in India is positive for asset-backed securities (ABS), as it supports the ability of borrowers to earn income and repay their loans.
Moody's expects that the Indian economy to grow at 7.6 per cent in 2018 compared to 6.2 per cent in 2017.
TCS was the biggest gainer in the Sensex pack, surging 4.04 per cent, followed by Infosys at 3.41 per cent. Other IT counters like Wipro, HCL Technology and Tech Mahindra gained up to 4.47 per cent.
Other Sensex gainers were Axis Bank 1.63 per cent, ICICI Bank 0.83 per cent, Tata Motors 0.77 per cent, Asian Paints 0.75 per cent, HDFC 0.68 per cent, HUL 0.57 per cent, NTPC 0.50 per cent, L&T 0.46 per cent, HDFC Bank 0.46 per cent, Kotak Bank 0.38 per cent, Bajaj Auto 0.32 per cent, Hero MotoCorp 0.22 per cent and M&M 0.16 per cent.
However, broader markets declined. The BSE small-cap index fell 0.27 per cent and mid-cap shed 0.13 per cent on profit booking.
Losers included Dr Reddy's 1.97 per cent, Tata Steel 1.51 per cent, SBI 1.17 per cent, Sun Pharma 1.12 per cent, Adani Ports 1.11 per cent and Maruti Suzuki 1.07 per cent.
Sector-wise, IT rose 3.18 per cent, Teck 2.49 per cent, Bankex 0.35 per cent and Capital Goods 0.19 per cent.
Realty, Metal, Healthcare, Power and PSU ended in the negative zone, falling up to 1.82 per cent.
IDBI Bank shares fell 1.04 per cent after the Reserve Bank imposed a penalty of Rs 3 crore on the lender for flouting NPA reporting norms.
Oil markets remained tense on concerns of a military escalation in Syria, but prices were some way off Wednesday's 2014 highs as bulging American supplies weighed.
Brent crude futures were at $72.42 per barrel, up 0.50 per cent from their last close and US WTI crude futures were at $67.20 a barrel, up 0.57 per cent.
Both Brent and WTI crude hit 2014 highs of $73.09 and $67.45 per barrel on Wednesday, respectively, after Saudi Arabia said it intercepted missiles over Riyadh and US President Donald Trump warned Russia of imminent military action in Syria.
Oil stocks ended in the red, with Oil India falling 1.34 per cent, IGL 1.31 per cent, Castrol Ind 1.10 per cent, Gail 0.34 per cent, ONGC 0.17 per cent and RIL 0.16 per cent.
Asian and European markets declined after Syria tensions and hawkish statements from the US Federal Reserve dented investors' sentiment.
US stocks declined overnight, as worries about geopolitical developments deflated the buying mood on Wall Street.
In the Asian region, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.21 per cent, Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.87 per cent and Japan's Nikkei ended 0.12 per cent lower.
In Europe, Paris CAC fell 0.03 per cent, while Frankfurt's DAX traded flat. London's FTSE too shed 0.02 per cent.