Stock markets shrugged off two days of year-end lethargy on Wednesday, with the bellwether Sensex rising to 6-week high with a smart gain of nearly 231 points on bargain hunting in blue chips and firm global cues.
After witnessing a day of volatile trading, the Bombay Stock Exchange sensitive index Sensex finally settled 230.61 points, or 1.15 per cent, up at 20,256.03 - the level last seen on November 16.
Similar pattern was witnessed in the National Stock Exchange's wide based Nifty which closed at 6,060.35, up 64.35 points or 1.07 per cent from the previous close.
Marketmen attributed the rebound to value buying by investors at attractive levels.
"Stock market was in an oversold zone, which gave investors an opportunity to buy at lower levels ahead of F&O expiry on Thursday. Streets are likely to carry forward the rally to the next session, with the benchmark breaching 20,500-mark," CNI Research CMD Kishore P Ostwal said.
Party on the bourses was led by the top lenders, boosting the sentiment, said market experts.
Private sector giant HDFC Bank stole the show with a gain of 3.23 per cent, becoming the major contributor in the overall Sensex gain. Rival players ICICI Bank and State Bank of India too advanced 1.31 per cent and 0.94 per cent, respectively.
"Bounce back in the banking counters and mid cap stocks after the recent fall lifted investor confidence in the market. The negative news flow has been discounted by the market and it is likely to start the new year on a robust note," Religare Securities Executive VP Rajesh Jain said.
FMCG major HUL grabbed investors' attention and went up 3.48 per cent, emerging as the best performer among the 30-Sensex companies.
Besides, telecom giant Bharti Airtel continued its winning momentum for the second straight session with a surge of 3.73 per cent, while Reliance Communications erased its last session's gains, shedding 0.50 per cent.
Barring RCom, Cipla and Wipro, all the other 27-Sensex components ended the day on an encouraging note. While drug major Cipla slipped 0.82 per cent, software player Wipro declined 0.66 per cent.
Brisk buying was witnessed on the metal counters, including Sterlite Industries (up 3.38 per cent) and Jindal Steel (up 1.24 per cent). The aluminium producer Hindalco settled at a record high of Rs 241.45, gaining 1.73 per cent.
"Strengthening oil and metal prices bolstered the stocks of commodity companies," said an expert.
In a handsome trading session, all the thirteen sectoral indices ended in a positive terrain.
Global markets also supported the rally, as Asian bourses ended firm with China's Shanghai gaining 0.68 per cent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng advancing by 1.54 per cent.
European markets were also trading in the positive terrain in the afternoon session.