Snapping a 3-day falling streak, the BSE Sensex today gained about 149 points to close over 17,988 on buying in fundamentally strong stocks at lower levels amid firm global cues, despite rising oil prices.

The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark index Sensex, which had lost 520 points in the last three sessions, bounced back 149.25 points to close at 17,988.30.

Brokers said that investors felt the risks to the global economic recovery receded after Japan made progress in averting a nuclear crisis looming large after the massive earthquake and tsunami hit the country a few days ago.

Trading sentiment improved as Asian stocks rose led by Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average, which had its biggest two-day advance since April 2009.

However, a rise in crude oil price in the overseas markets restricted the gains. The crude in New York rose for the second day to over $ 103 as Allied air-strikes in Libya threatened to prolong a supply disruption from Africa’s third-largest crude producer.

The broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty rose 49.10 points to 5,413.85 with the two heaviest - Reliance Industries and Infosys Technologies, with 23 per cent weightage, ended with gains.

Reliance pulled back from its 3-day slide by rising Rs. 10.95 to Rs. 999.50, and Infosys Technologies by Rs. 21.25 to Rs. 2,943.40.

Auto majors, led by Maruti Suzuki India, gained the most in three weeks by adding Rs. 40.50 to Rs. 1,171.85. Tata Motors, the owner of Jaguar Land Rover, was up Rs. 13.65 at Rs. 1,136.

In the 30-BSE index components, 25 ended higher while five closed with losses. All the sectoral indices led by realty, auto, healthcare and refinery closed in the positive territory.

As the buying activity spilled over a wide front, midcap sector index rose 0.79 per cent to 6,543.54 and smallcap index by 0.54 per cent to 7,817.65.

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