Market kept its positive strike rate for the fourth straight session as the benchmark Sensex ended with a 7-point gain at 25,338, with some late buying coming to the rescue amid a higher opening in Europe.
For the week, the Sensex climbed 384.82 points, or 1.54 per cent, while NSE Nifty surged 112.15 points, or 1.47 per cent, amid expectations that the Reserve Bank would reduce interest rates at its policy review meet on April 5.
The pre-dominant mood was one of caution as investors booked profit ahead of a long weekend after deadly terror attacks at the Brussels airport and a city metro station yesterday rekindled geo-political worries.
Markets will be shut tomorrow and Friday on account of Holi and Good Friday, respectively. The meagre gains came on top of buying in metal, technology, IT and auto stocks.
The Sensex rebounded from lows to close up 7.07 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 25,337.56. The 30-share gauge had gained over 653 points in the past three sessions.
At the close, the 50-share NSE Nifty was up 1.60 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 7,716.50. Both indices remained at their highest levels since January 6, a fresh 11-week high. Broader markets too stayed in the green, with the mid-cap index and small-cap gaining 0.24 per cent each.
“The market was in a holiday mood and investors took a cautionary approach ahead of the long weekend,” said Vinod Nair, Head-Fundamental Research, Geojit BNP Paribas.
A total of 15 rose out of 30 stocks in the Sensex pack. Tata Steel topped the tally of gains, up 2.31 per cent, while Bharti Airtel closed 2.06 per cent higher. Bajaj Auto, Infosys, Coal India, Maruti Suzuki, Wipro, Hindustan Unilever, L&T, Sun Pharma, ICICI Bank,
ITC, Hero MotoCorp and TCS too gained, rising by up to 2.05 per cent. RIL slumped 1.83 per cent while Lupin ended 1.63 per cent down.
The BSE metal index was the leader sectorally, climbing the most by 1.71 per cent, followed by technology (0.67 per cent) and IT (0.61 per cent). Foreign investors net bought shares worth Rs 1,095.44 crore yesterday, showed provisional data.
Most other Asian indices closed mixed in subdued trading as investors pulled back ahead of the long Easter weekend, choosing to stay cautious in view of the bombings in Brussels yesterday. Europe picked up the pieces and the indices moved on with gains in early deals.