The BSE benchmark Sensex on Thursday closed 131 points higher on fag-end buying by funds mainly in metal, capital goods, consumer durables, PSU and banking stocks amid expiry of the monthly derivatives contract.

After falling over 136 points in early trade, the 30-share index, rebounded on the back of buying in heavy-weight stocks to close at 18,835.77, a rise of 131.24 points or 0.70 per cent. During the session, it touched a high of 18,882.54.

It had gained 23.11 points in the previous session on Tuesday. The market remained closed yesterday for Holi festival.

The wide-based National Stock Exchange index, Nifty spurted by 40.95 points, or 0.73 per cent, to 5,682.55 after moving between 5,604.85 and 5,692.95.

“Stocks recovered in the second half of session as buying interest emerged at current levels amid covering-up of short positions by speculators on the last day of March month expiry in the derivatives segment,” said Manoj Choraria, a Delhi-based stock broker.

On the gainers side, Hindalco closed 3.98 per cent higher at Rs 91.50, Sterlite Industries by 2.91 per cent to Rs 93.80, GAIL India by 5.02 per cent to Rs 319.15, Infosys gained 1.25 per cent to Rs 2,889.90, ICICI Bank up 2.37 per cent to Rs 1,045.35, HDFC Bank by 2.780 per cent to Rs 631, while State Bank of India by 1.04 per cent to Rs 2,072.75.

Shares of Novartis India rose by 3.75 per cent to close Rs 598.80 after company said its Swiss-promoter Novartis AG intends to reduce its stake in the Indian entity to enable it to meet SEBI guidelines on the minimum public shareholding in the listed companies.

Metal, capital goods, power, consumer durables, bank and PSU sector shares saw heavy buying, contributing major support to the benchmark Sensex.

Sectorally, the Metal sector index gained the most by rising 2.69 per cent, followed by capital goods index (2.17 per cent), consumer durables sector index (1.89 per cent) and banking index (1.66 per cent).

Bucking the trend, energy giant Reliance Industries (RIL) continued its losing streak for yet another session and lost another 1.24 per cent to Rs 773.70, Hero MotorCorp shed 1.95 per cent to Rs 1,541.90 and Bharti Airtel declined 1.77 per cent to Rs 291.80.

Brokers said revival of buying after recent losses on worries over the political stability, and covering-up of pending short positions on the last day of March month expiry in the derivatives segment attributed rebound in stock prices.

Besides, a higher opening in the European market also supported the recovery on the domestic boures here, they said.

The BSE and the NSE will remain closed tomorrow on account of “Good Friday”.

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