Mumbai: Equity benchmark Sensex advanced over 150 points in early trade on Friday, tracking gains in index majors HDFC twins, Asian Paints and HCL Tech amid largely positive cues from global markets.

The 30-share BSE index was trading 160.43 points or 0.33 per cent higher at 48,964.11.

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty rose 63.35 points or 0.43 per cent to 14,644.80.

UltraTech Cement was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rising over 2 per cent, followed by Asian Paints, HCL Tech, HDFC, Tech Mahindra and M&M.

On the other hand, ICICI Bank, Reliance Industries, Bajaj Finance and Axis Bank were among the laggards.

In the previous session, Sensex ended 259.62 points or 0.53 per cent higher at 48,803.68, and Nifty advanced 76.65 points or 0.53 per cent to 14,581.45.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers in the capital market as they purchased shares worth Rs 979.70 crore on Thursday, according to provisional exchange data.

“A continued surge in the second wave of COVID-19 cases in the country, which already crossed 2 lakh daily cases, has certainly dented investors’ sentiments.

“However, the government’s strong effort to expedite vaccination progress in the country by allowing multinational vaccines in domestic markets and absence of complete lockdown in Maharashtra and Delhi offered some comfort to equities,” said Binod Modi Head-Strategy at Reliance Securities.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo were trading on a positive note in mid-session deals, while Seoul was in the red.

Equities on Wall Street too ended with gains in overnight sessions.

Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude was trading flat at USD 66.94 per barrel.

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