The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark Sensex today rose by 170 points in early trade on increased buying by foreign funds amid firming global trends.

The 30-share index gained 170.61, or 1 per cent, at 17,197.28 points with stocks of metals, auto and realty sectors leading the rally.

The wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty jumped 64.30 points, or 1.27 per cent, to hit a 17-month high of 5,118.55 points.

Brokers said sustained buying by foreign funds, bolstered by firming trends in the global markets and expectations of encouraging corporate quarterly earnings, influenced the trading sentiments.

Among Sensex stocks, which posted significant gains, were Sterlite Industries (up by 1.69 per cent to Rs 822.55), Tata Steel (by 1.71 per cent to Rs 555.30) and Hindalco (by 1.28 per cent to Rs 130.50).

Reliance Industries moved up by 0.68 per cent to Rs 2,181.90, Reliance Infra by 2.35 per cent to Rs 1,38.85, ONGC by 1.09 per cent to Rs 1,258.20 and BHEL by 1.72 per cent to Rs 2,466.

However, stocks of software exporters were under some pressure following weakening of dollar against the rupee.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng was trading higher by 1.50 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei was almost steady in early trade today.

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