Sensex up 98 points led by bluechip stocks; HUL, NTPC and Wipro top gainers.

The BSE benchmark Sensex, buoyed by the government’s decision to liberalise FDI norms in a dozen sectors, rose by nearly 98 points on Wednesday, led by gains in bluechips including HUL, NTPC and Wipro.

The 30-share index started the day on a firm footing at 19,970.02, higher by 118 points from Tuesday’s close. It, however, erased some of the early gains during the day and closed 97.50 points, or 0.49 per cent higher at 19,948.73.

Sensex had closed down by 183.25 points in the previous session.

Similarly, the wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty gained 18.05 points, or 0.30 per cent, to close at 5,973.30.

Brokers said the market sentiment was boosted after the government announced, late Tuesday, a hike in foreign direct investment (FDI) in a dozen sectors — including 100 per cent in telecom — and higher caps in insurance and defence sectors, to boost the sagging economy.

They said better earnings by companies like Infosys and HDFC Bank for the first quarter further supported the uptrend.

A firming trend in the Asian region ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S Bernanke’s address to the US Congress, further influenced the sentiment, they added.

Out of the 30 BSE components, 15 stocks ended higher led by Hindustan Unilever rising 9.86 per cent to Rs 684.75, followed by NTPC (3.18 per cent) and Wipro (2.96 per cent).

Sectorwise, the FMCG sector index led the gains rising 3.39 per cent to 7,400.33, followed by consumer durables (1.10 per cent) and IT sector (1 per cent).

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