The Indian equity benchmarks gained for second straight session on Monday led by gains in banking and financial services shares. The benchmarks opened higher but for most part of the day traded on a flat note. However, spurt in banking heavyweights like State Bank of India, HDFC Bank and HDFC lifted the benchmark close to day's highest levels in the last hour of trade. The Sensex rose as much as 317 points and Nifty 50 index touched an intraday high of 15,256.25.
The Sensex ended 111 points or 0.22 per cent higher at 50,652 and Nifty 50 index advanced 22 points to close at 15,198.
Investor sentiment got a boost after country's daily COVID-19 cases stayed below the 300,000-mark for more than a week. Data from the health ministry showed daily cases of the novel coronavirus in India stayed below the 300,000-mark for the eighth straight day on Monday, well below a record of more than 414,000 earlier this month.
Buying interest was broad-based as nine of 11 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange ended higher led by the Nifty PSU Bank index's over 2 per cent gain. Nifty Bank, Financial Services, Media, Private Bank and Realty sector gauges also rose over 1 per cent.
On the other hand, select FMCG and metal shares witnessed a mild selling pressure.
Mid- and small-cap shares also witnessed buying interest was Nifty Midcap 100 index rose 0.8 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index advanced 1.1 per cent.
State Bank of India was among the top Nifty gainers, the stock rose as much as 3.4 per cent to hit an intraday high of Rs 419.20 on sustained upmove after it reported highest ever profit in March quarter on Friday.
Indian, Oil, Bharat Petroleum, Larsen & Toubro, Axis Bank, ITC, Power Grid, UPL, Coal India, Dr Reddy's Labs, HDFC, Eicher Motors and HDFC Bank were also among the gainers.
On the flipside, Shree Cement, JSW Steel, Tata Steel, Britannia Industries, Tata Consumer Products, Mahindra & Mahindra, Titan, UltraTech Cement, IndusInd Bank and Hindustan Unilever were among the losers.
The overall market breadth was positive as 1,938 shares ended higher while 1,260 closed lower on the BSE.