Domestic stock markets extended gains to a second straight day to register a nearly three-week peak on Wednesday, supported by buying interest in automobile and pharmaceutical shares. The S&P BSE Sensex rose 117.05 points - or 0.30 per cent - to touch 39,161.40 at the strongest level in early trade, and the broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark climbed to as high as 11,546.55, up 24.75 points - or 0.21 per cent - from its previous close. Global shares registered cautious gains as investors awaited the outcome of a two-day policy meeting of the US central bank.
The Sensex ended 258.50 points - or 0.66 per cent - higher at 39,302.85, and the Nifty settled at 11,604.55, up 82.75 points - or 0.72 per cent - from its previous close. Both indices registered their highest closing levels recorded since August 28.
Dr Reddy's Laboratories, Mahindra & Mahindra, Hindalco, Bajaj Auto and Britannia, closing between 3.05 per cent to 4.44 per cent higher, were the top percentage gainers in the 50-scrip Nifty index.
On the other hand, IndusInd Bank, NTPC, Bharti Infratel, SBI and Axis Bank, ending between 1.02 per cent and 2 per cent lower, were the top losers.
HDFC Bank, Infosys and Mahindra & Mahindra were the biggest boost to Sensex, contributing more than 150 points to the gain in the index.
Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das said on Wednesday that economic recovery in the country is likely to be gradual, as an uptick seen in some sectors in June-July appears to have levelled off. He, however, reiterated that the RBI stands "battle-ready" to take any measures needed to tackle the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Gains in domestic equities, however, were limited amid rising COVID-19 infections in the country and signs of a protracted standoff with China, say analysts.
"Continued border tensions and unabated coronavirus infections limited the gains. Global cues were also positive as participants awaited policy statement from US FOMC meeting. Any indication of increased bond-buying will be a positive trigger for the markets," said Vinod Nair, head of research at Geojit Financial Services.
Shares elsewhere in Asia moved higher, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan rising 0.47 per cent, but investors remained cautious before the release of policy statement by the Federal Reserve at the end of a two-day meeting later in the day. Japan's Nikkei 225 benchmark climbed up 0.09 per cent.
The US central bank's decision is due at 11:30 pm, followed by a news conference by Chairman Jerome Powell half an hour later.
"Markets are expected to be in sync with global cues tomorrow. Upsides seem to be limited, considering the lack of fresh domestic triggers for the market," Mr Nair said.
The E-Mini S&P 500 futures traded 0.48 per cent higher, indicating a positive start for Wall Street on Wednesday.
European shares began the day on a sluggish note, with the United Kindgom's FTSE benchmark trading 0.10 per cent lower in early trade, while France's CAC and Germany's DAX indices were up 0.15 per cent and 0.06 per cent respectively.
(With inputs from agencies)