The BSE benchmark Sensex on Friday extended gains for the fourth straight day by adding over 54 points in early trade on continued foreign funds inflow, amid a firming trend in the Asian region.

The 30-share barometer rose by 54.25 points, or 0.27 per cent, to 20,301.58, a level last seen in January, 2011 with stocks of IT, oil and gas, realty, auto and capital goods sectors leading the gains. The index had gained 555.66 points in the previous three sessions.

Similarly, the wide-based National Stock Exchange index, Nifty, moved up by 8.55 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 6,178.45.

Brokers said sentiments on the domestic bourses continues to be buoyed by sustained buying by foreign funds and retail investors on hopes of a rate cut as inflation eased.

Besides, a firming trend in the Asian region supported the upside, they said.

Stocks of ITC Ltd rose 0.21 per cent to Rs 337.50 ahead of fourth quarter earnings, to be released later on Friday.

Meanwhile in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei up by 0.35 per cent, in early trade today, while Hong Kong’s market remained closed.

The US Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.28 per cent lower in yesterday’s trade.

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