The BSE benchmark Sensex on Wednesday gained nearly 144 points in early trade on sustained buying by funds amid firming Asian trend.

The 30-share barometer rose by 143.57 points, or 0.73 per cent to 19,724.38 with all the sectoral indices, led by realty and metal, trading in positive zone with gains up to 1.25 per cent. The index had gained 154.10 in Tuesday’s trade.

The wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty moved up by 41.25 points, or 0.69 per cent, to 5,992.10.

Brokers said the sentiment remained strong on sustained inflows from foreign funds into equity market amid a firming trend in the Asian region as U.S. poised to avert fiscal cliff.

Banking sector stocks continued their upward march on expectations of a rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India.

Stocks of Bank of India gained 0.71 per cent, State Bank of India shot up by 1.20 per cent, while ICICI Bank up 0.91 per cent.

In the Asian region, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose by 1.18 per cent. The stock market in Japan is closed on Wednesday.

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