The benchmark Sensex on Wednesday rose over 67 points to end near its record close on positive global cues and as investors started taking positions with just about a month left for the Lok Sabha election.
Indian stocks largely shrugged off weak European opening as realty, capital goods and banking stocks helped the bluechip index close in the positive terrain after it witnessed intra-day volatility, said traders.
After logging 263.08-point rise Tuesday, the Sensex jumped to 21,333.20 in early trade but profit-booking set in. Sustained buying, including from overseas investors, helped 30-share index end 67.13 points up at 21,276.86.
At this level, the index is just 100 points away from its record closing high of 20,376.56 on February 7.
ICICI Bank, which gained 2.7 per cent and alone added over 40 points alone to the Sensex kitty, led the 17 index gainers while Tata Power led the 13 laggards.
The 50-scrip CNX Nifty of the NSE improved 30.70 points, or 0.49 per cent, to end at 6,328.65.
Easing of Ukraine-related geopolitical fears after Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday signalled the crisis won't immediately escalate and retaining of economic growth targest for this year by China's leaders, aided buying.
PSU bank stocks like SBI saw some activity after Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the government will continue to provide capital support to state-run banks, but the lenders are expected to focus on profitability.
Election Commission announced dates for the Lok Sabha election to be held between April 7 and May 12.
"So now, it's important to see how the markets progress ahead of the event as we have been struggling for sustainability at higher levels for quite sometime," said Jayant Manglik, President-retail distribution, Religare Securities.
Other Sensex-based scrips like ONGC, Infosys, ITC, HDFC also notched handsome gains, while RIL, Bharti Airtel, Tata Motors suffered losses.
Meanwhile, Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 185.61 crore on Tuesday, as per provisional data from the stock exchanges.
Asian stocks closed mixed with upward bias as the threat of war in Ukraine receded. Key benchmark indices in Singapore, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea closed with gains while those from China and Hong Kong finished with losses.
European markets were quoting lower in their late morning trades ahead of key data. The CAC was down by 0.22 per cent, the DAX by 0.20 per cent and the FTSE 0.33 per cent.
Other gainers from the Sensex pack included Coal India 1.74 per cent, Cipla 1.72 per cent, SBI 1.54 per cent, Maruti Suzuki 1.51 per cent, ONGC 1.50 per cent, Hindalco 1.45 per cent, Tata Steel 1.14 per cent and Axis Bank 0.90 per cent.
Tata Power dropped 3.25 per cent, followed by Bharti Airtel 1.67 per cent, Gail India 1.21 per cent, RIL 0.95 per cent and Tata Motors 0.75 per cent.
From the S&P BSE Sectoral indices, Realty index shot up by 1.95 per cent, Bankex 1.47 per cent, Capital Goods 1.13 per cent and Metal 0.68 per cent. Consumer Durables fell 2.36 per cent.
Total market breadth remained positive as 1,505 stocks closed in the green while 1,182 concluded in the red. Total turnover was up at Rs 2,354.96 crore from Rs 2,195.50 crore Tuesday.