The Sensex posted its biggest gains of the month on Tuesday, as investors picked up software services exporters such as Infosys that have recently under-performed and defensive shares such as Hindustan Unilever.
Shares have recovered after hitting their yearly lows on Friday, although the mood remains largely cautious ahead of the 2013-14 Union Budget, to be unveiled on February 28. Traders say a plan to narrow the country's fiscal and current account deficits would be key in reviving share markets that have largely fizzled out this month.
The BSE Sensex rose 0.69 per cent, or 134.64 points to end at 19,635.72, marking its biggest daily percentage gain since January 25, and a recovery after ending Friday at its lowest close of the year.
The 50-share Nifty rose 0.7 per cent, or 41.50 points, to 5,939.70, also posting its biggest daily gain since January 25.
Shares of software services exporters were among the day's leading gainers, on continued hopes of earnings improved in the fiscal year starting April, on the back of an improving global economy. Tata Consultancy Services rose 1.3 per cent, after falling 2.1 per cent since hitting a record high on February 14. Infosys Ltd shares rose 1.45 per cent after falling 1.1 per cent over the previous two sessions, compared with a flat performance in the Nifty.
Among other gainers, ACC Ltd rose three per cent while Ambuja Cements Ltd added 1.36 per cent after shareholders at each of the cement makers separately approved paying technology fees to controlling stakeholder Holcim Ltd of one per cent of net annual sales.
Holcim holds a 50.3 percent stake in ACC and 50.6 per cent in Ambuja Cements.