The Indian equity benchmarks edged higher on thursday ahead of monthly expiry of April futures and option contracts led by gains in Hindustan Unilever, Reliance industries, Infosys, Sun Pharma, ICICI Bank, Larsen & Toubro and Asian Paints. The Sensex rose as much as 477 points and Nifty 50 index touched an intraday high of 17,189.
As of 9:21 am, the Sensex was up 271 points at 57,090 and Nifty 50 index advanced 85 points to 17,123.
Meanwhile, most of the Asian markets were also trading higher led by the Japan's Nikkei's 1.05 per cent gain. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.86 per cent and South Korea's KOSPI advanced 0.65 per cent.
Stocks on Wall Street managed only meager gains Wednesday, after a broad rally led by technology companies faded by late afternoon, leaving the market little changed a day after a big sell-off.
The lacklustre finish punctuated a wobbly start for stocks, the latest turbulence for the market as traders brace for more earnings reports from major U.S. companies this week.
The S&P 500 saw most of a midday rally evaporate and wound up with a gain of just 0.2 per cent. The Nasdaq ended just barely in the red after the tech stock rebound petered out. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.2 per cent.
The indexes rallied to a strong finish late Monday only to slump on Tuesday. They are all down 1.5 per cent or more so far this week.
Back home, buying was visible across sectors as all the 15 sector gauges, barring the measure of media shares, were trading higher led by the Nifty Pharma and healthcare indexes' over 1 per cent gain. Nifty Oil & Gas, Metal, FMCG and Auto indices also rose between 0.35-1 per cent each.
Mid- and small-cap shares were also witnessing buying interest as Nifty Midcap 100 index rose 0.66 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index advanced 0.44 per cent.
Hindustan Unilever was top Nifty gainer, the stock rose over 2 per cent to Rs 2,193 after its net profit rose 5 per cent to Rs 2,307 crore for the fourth quarter ended in March 2022 despite flat volume growth due to unprecedented inflation.
Moreover, HUL has now become Rs 50,000 crore turnover company and also the first pure FMCG firm to achieve this milestone. The company now has 16 brands with a turnover of Rs 1,000 crore each.
Divi's Labs, Sun Pharma, UPL, Infosys, Apollo Hospitals, Asian Paints, Adani Ports, JSW Steel, ITC, Eicher Motors, NTPC and HDFC Life also rose between 0.9-1.9 per cent.
On the flipside, Bajaj Auto fell 2.2 per cent to Rs 3,820 after its profit declined by 2 per cent to Rs 1,526 crore in the fourth quarter ended on March 31, 2022, on account of lower sales in both domestic and export markets.
The company's total two-wheeler and commercial vehicle sales declined by 17 per cent to 9,76,651 units in the fourth quarter as compared with 11,69,664 units in the same period of 2020-21 fiscal.
Britannia Industries, Bharti Airtel, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, TCS and Titan were among the notable losers.
The overall market breadth was positive as 1,853 shares ended higher while 885 closed lower on the BSE.