The Indian equity benchmarks rallied for second straight session on Tuesday and hit their highest level in more than two months as the daily rise in domestic coronavirus cases stayed below the 300,000 mark for a second straight day. Gains in Tuesday's session were driven by strong buying interest in auto, financial services, banking, metal and information technology shares. The Sensex rose as much as 733 points to move above its important psychological level of 50,000 and Nifty 50 index reclaimed its important level of 15,000.
The Sensex ended 613 points or 1.24 per cent higher at 50,193 and Nifty 50 index climbed 185 points or 1.24 per cent to settle at 15,108.
Daily COVID-19 cases in the country rose by 263,533, remaining below the 300,000 mark first seen on Monday after April 21. However, deaths rose by a record 4,329.
"Positive trigger for market now is steadily declining fresh COVID cases," V.K. Vijaykumar, chief investment strategist at Geojit Financial Services, said in a note seen by Reuters.
Eight of 11 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange ended higher led by the Nifty Auto index's over 3 per cent gain. Nifty Metal, Bank, Media, Financial Services and Private Bank indexes also rose over a per cent each.
On the other hand, Nifty PSU Bank index fell 1.3 per cent. Select pharma and FMCG shares also faced selling pressure.
Mid- and small-cap shares also witnessed buying interest as Nifty Midcap 100 index rose 1.8 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index advanced 1.6 per cent.
Mahindra & Mahindra was top Nifty gainer, the stock rose 6 per cent to close at Rs 799. Tata Motors climbed 3.5 per cent ahead of March quarter earnings.
Bajaj Auto, Bajaj Finance, Titan, Indian Oil, Eicher Motors, Adani Ports, Tata Steel, Hindalco, HDFC Bank, Larsen & Toubro and Power Grid also rose between 2-5 per cent.
On the flipside, Bharti Airtel dropped 2.5 per cent to close at Rs 536 after the telecom operator saw a key revenue metric miss an analyst estimate despite solid subscriber additions and higher data usage during the pandemic. The company's quarterly average revenue per user (ARPU) at its India mobile services business rose 7.4 per cent to Rs 145 from a year earlier, but dropped nearly 13 per cent from the previous quarter.
ITC, Coal India, Dr Reddy's Labs, Divi's Labs, State Bank of India, Hindustan Unilever, Grasim Industries and Tata Consumer Products were among the notable losers.
The overall market breadth was positive as 1,908 shares ended higher while 1,164 closed lower on the BSE.