The BSE index Sensex on Monday inched 44 points up to 18,420.11 as easing crude prices reduced concerns over inflation and investors bought IT and healthcare blue chips available at existing lower levels.

The Sensex, which had lost 232 points in the previous two trading sessions, gained 43.63 points after moving in a range of 18,258.42 and 18,458.63 during intra-day trading.

Broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty rose by 15.30 points to 5,532.05. It had touched the day’s low of 5,479.85.

Brokers said buying activity picked up in the second half of the trading as stocks dipped to attractive low levels amid reports that a fall in crude prices would lower the risk of a higher inflation.

They said Information Technology and Healthcare stocks, which had suffered losses in the last two trading sessions, benefited from the buying.

The IT sector index gained the most by rising 0.81 per cent to 6,052.49. Infosys Technologies, the Sensex’s second most valuable scrip, led the upsurge, rising by Rs 24.95 to Rs 2,838.45 a piece followed by TCS, which climbed Rs 11.60 to Rs 1,164.75 a piece.

Healthcare sector index was the next best performer, rising 0.71 per cent to 6,351.76 as Dr Reddy’s Lab rose by Rs 26.25 to Rs 1,604.60 and Sun Pharma by Rs 9.70 to Rs 477.90.

However, a weakening trend in Asian region and lower opening at Europe capped the gains to some extent.

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