The BSE Sensex made a smart recovery after plunging 519 points in early trade, closing 28.07 points higher, supported by strength in IT, metal and pharma stocks despite the rupee breaching the 68-mark against US dollar.
Continuing its free-fall, the rupee sank to 68.75 on heightened capital outflow concerns and worries that fiscal burden will increase due to food security programme. It later pared some losses to trade at 67.9 when stock markets closed.
Surging oil prices on back of heightened geopolitical tension over possible US-led coalition attack on Syria and a sinking rupee cast shadow on the stock market, with the Sensex plummeting to 17,448.71 in the early stages of trade.
Brokers said a wave of value-buying led by institutional investors like LIC and mutual funds helped stock markets recover even as foreign institutional investors (FIIs) dumped bluechip stocks.
The Sensex jumped to 18,101.84 and finally settled the day at 17,996.15 - up 28.07 points or 0.16 per cent. It had crashed 590 points on Tuesday to end below the 18,000-mark after a gap of one week.
Stocks also recovered as investors covered their pending long positions created in the recent bear-run ahead of the monthly derivatives contract expiry on Thursday.
The NSE index Nifty finished 2.56 points, or 0.05 per cent lower at 5,285, after touching day's low of 5,118.85.
The SX40, the flagship index of MCX-SX, ended flat at 10,630.05.
Software-services exporters Tata Consultancy Services jumped 3.68 per cent to Rs 1904, Infosys by 2.03 per cent to Rs 3,120.30 and Wipro by 3.63 per cent to Rs 471.40. The IT sector index rose by 2.68 per cent higher to 7,833.51.
The second best performer was the metal index which rose 1.88 per cent to 7,763.33 as stocks of Tata Steel, Hindalco and Sterlite Industries advanced. The healthcare index also rose by 1.16 per cent.
On the other hand, stocks of consumer durables, realty, banking, refinery, capital goods and FMCG sectors declined.
With inputs from PTI