The Bombay Stock Exchange sensitive index, Sensex, halted the three-day falling trend on Friday. The benchmark index gained over 68 points and closed at 17700.91 against 17632.41 on Thursday, as investors bought bluechips at lower levels, amid Economic Survey projecting strong GDP growth and easing concerns over oil prices.

Stock markets were bolstered by a firm tend in the Asian region and higher openings in Europe as crude oil prices eased, after the producing countries said they would boost output in case the Middle East turmoil hits supplies.

Fall in global crude oil price to less than $98 a barrel in New York calmed near term fears, helping world markets rebound from the recent sell-offs, said a broker.

Besides, the Railway Budget unveiled plans for adding new lines, a positive for infrastructure. The gains were led by stocks in the financial, FMCG and auto sectors. However, marketmen remained cautious that crude oil prices would continue to daunt the sentiment. They also said worries remain over further rise in interest rates in view of persisting inflationary pressures “We expect the downward pressure to prevail in the near term. The Union Budget will be an important event next week. At the same time, one can't afford to ignore the external developments, especially in the Middle-East,” IIFL (India Private Clients) Head of Research Amar Ambani said. Sanjay Bhambri of Hi-Tech Securities said higher oil prices would remain the main concern for the market.

The BSE 30-share barometer moved both ways in a range of 17812.44 and 17469.97 before ending at 17700.91. Similarly, the NSE 50-share Nifty recouped 40.85 points to 5303.55 from 5262.70.

Overall, 13 out of 30 index-based stocks closed with gains while others finished with losses.

Tata Motor firmed up by 4.43 per cent to Rs. 1,105.10, ICICI Bank by 3.55 per cent to Rs. 987.30, ITC by 3 per cent to Rs. 156.15 and SBI by 2.09 per cent to Rs. 2,583.90. However, RCom dropped by 5.40 per cent to Rs. 87.55, Reliance Infra 4.58 per cent to Rs. 638 and M&M 3.38 per cent Rs. 595.10.

Rupee recovers 16 paise

The rupee recovered by 16 paise to end at 45.32/33 against the U.S. currency on Friday on sale of dollars by exporters amid marginal recovery in equities despite capital outflows and a firm greenback overseas.

The rupee closed at 45.48/49 on Thursday.

Forex dealers attributed the rise in the value of rupee to sale of dollars by exporters and some banks, expecting the dollar to fall in view of some recovery in global crude oil prices.

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