Wednesday, the Indian market shrugged off mixed global cues and ended sharply higher for the day, as higher US index futures and net buying by foreign funds in the past few sessions helped improve sentiment.

On a net basis, foreign funds bought shares worth Rs.1498 crore in seven trading sessions from 13th to 23rd March. On Tuesday, they bought shares worth Rs.502 crore, according to provisional data released by the National Stock Exchange.

Stocks of realty, oil/gas and metal companies led the rally. Banking stocks also rallied ahead of the release of inflation report on expectations of further easing of the monetary policy

However, trading was extremely volatile on account of the expiry of March series derivatives contact on Thursday. After moving choppily in a range of 9,706-9,430, the BSE Sensex closed near the day's high at 9,668, up 197 points or 2.08%, while the S&P CNX Nifty rose 46 points or 1.55% to 2,984.

On the BSE, the market breadth was slightly positive, with advancers outnumbering decliners by 1263 to 1219. The broad-based BSE 500 index rallied 1.82%, the small-cap index rose 0.32% and the mid-cap index gained 0.75%.

Among the major gainers, Jaiprakash Associates jumped 7.51%, Tata Power climbed 7.12%, Sterlite Industries soared 6.48%, DLF rallied 6.22% and Reliance Infrastructure advanced 5.84%.

Reliance Industries, Tata Steel, Reliance Communication, HDFC bank, ICICI Bank and BHEL were the other major gainers.

However, NTPC, Bharti Airtel, ONGC, Hindustan Unilever, Tata Motors, Ranbaxy, Sun Pharma and Maruti Suzuki ended in the red.

Among oil-marketing companies, HPCL and BPCL ended little changed after the government issued oil bonds worth Rs.10, 000 crore to state-owned oil companies for under-recoveries on the sale of petroleum products.

Indian Oil Corporation rose 0.59% after it received the approval from the ministry of corporate affairs for the merger of Bongaigaon Refinery & Petrochemicals, a subsidiary of the company, with IOC.

Reliance Industries jumped 5.63% on reports that it could sign gas sales contracts with 12 fertilizer companies on March 27 for supplying natural gas from its eastern offshore KG-D6 fields.

Cairn India gained 3.83% on reports that it will commence crude oil production from its Barmer field in Rajasthan in a month, but ONGC ended down 2.02%.

Tata Communications advanced 2.13% after it received Rs.424 crore from selling some of its stake in its group firm Tata Teleservices. Novartis was locked at the 20% upper circuit limit after its parent company Novartis AG made an open offer to acquire an additional stake of 39% in its Indian subsidiary at a price of Rs.351 per share.

Infosys Technologies gained 1.26% on reports that it has won an outsourcing contract worth about $80-100 million from Australian phone firm Telstra. Astra Microwave added nearly 2% after it bagged an order worth Rs.26 crore from a defense public sector undertaking for supply of critical microwave subsystems.

Surya Pharmaceuticals gained 3.46% on reports that it is foraying into healthcare retail by setting up around 500 healthcare and pharma retail outlets in the next three years at an investment of Rs.250 crore. Mangalam Timber Products was locked at the 20% upper circuit limit after Padmavati Investment, a promoter group company, hiked its stake in the firm

EPIC Energy fell 4.07% even as it secured an order from Konkan Railway Corporation for its Power Savers to be installed at seven different locations. Shree Cement tumbled 4.08% after it commissioned its clinker-manufacturing unit (Unit VII) of 1 million tonnes per annum capacity at Bangur City, Ras in Pali district of Rajasthan.

Ranbaxy Laboratories moved down 0.76% despite receiving an approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration, Department of Health and Ageing, Australia, for the registration of OZIDAL Risperidone 0.5, 1, 2, 3 and 4 mg tablets in Australia.

Satyam Computers lost 3.11% on reports that Spice Group may withdraw from the race to buy a majority stake in the company due to issues with terms and conditions proposed by the Satyam board and a lack of desired transparency in the bidding process.

Reliance topped the traded value with a turnover of Rs.445.35 crore followed by Akruti City (Rs.244.85 crore), ICICI Bank (Rs.203.20 crore), Reliance Capital (Rs.168.80 crore) and Reliance Infrastructure (Rs.152 crore).

Unitech topped the traded volume with trades of around 3.70 crore shares followed by Cals Refineries (2.63 crore), Crompton Greaves (1.27 crore), Reliance Natural Resources (1.14 crore) and Suzlon Energy (1.12 crore).

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