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However, the markets gave up most of the intraday gains in the first few minutes of trade. At 9:36 am, the Sensex traded 46.54 points - or 0.12 per cent - higher at 40,409.77, while the Nifty was up 8.75 points - or 0.07 per cent - at 11,838.15.
Top percentage gainers in the 50-scrip benchmark index at the time were ONGC, HUL, Indian Oil, Zee Entertainment and NTPC, trading between 1.32 per cent and 2.04 per cent higher. Twenty nine stocks in the Nifty moved higher at the time.
On the other hand, UPL, Dr Reddy's, HCL Tech, Tata Motors and Titan - down between 0.88 per cent and 1.35 per cent each - were the top Nifty losers.
HUL, Infosys and HDFC were the top contributors to the gains in Sensex, while HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Larsen & Toubro were the biggest drags.
Analysts awaited key macroeconomic data due by the end of the week for near-term direction.
The government is due to release data on GDP or gross domestic product for the October-December period on Friday evening.
Equities in other Asian markets were mixed after a wave of early selling petered out and Wall Street futures managed a solid bounce, allowing investors to take a break from coronavirus fears.
South Korea's hard-hit market edged up 0.8 per cent and helped MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fight back to flat.
Japan's Nikkei was still down 2.8 per cent, but just catching up to the global sell-off having been shut on Monday. Shanghai blue chips eased 0.7 per cent, but also off early lows.
On Monday, the S&P BSE Sensex had declined 806.89 points - or 1.96 per cent - to end at 40,363.23 and the broader NSE Nifty benchmark dropped 251.45 points - or 2.08 per cent - to settle at 11,829.40, as the markets tracked global peers where world growth outlook dampened following a surge in coronavirus cases outside China.