The benchmark BSE Sensex was trading higher by nearly 120 points on hopes of pro-growth Budget and better third quarterly earnings by some blue-chip companies.

At 12.30 p.m., the 30-share BSE index Sensex was trading higher by 115.08 points or 0.4 per cent at 29,210.01 and the 50-share NSE Nifty Futures Nifty was trading up by 29.85 points or 0.34 per cent at 8,835.35.

Among BSE sectoral indices, realty index was the star-performer and was up 1.55 per cent, followed by FMCG 1.4 per cent, infrastructure 0.98 per cent and power 0.88 per cent. On the other hand, consumer durables index was down 0.98 per cent, followed by healthcare 0.41 per cent, oil & gas 0.23 per cent and banking 0.14 per cent.

Major Sensex gainers were M&M 2.35%, Bharti Airtel 2.17%, HUL 1.92%, ITC 1.81% and Tata Motors 1.69%, while the top five losers were Sun Pharma 2.67%, Hero MotoCorp 1.7%, Axis Bank 1.26%, ICICI Bank 1.12% and Infosys 0.91%.

Brokers said sustained buying by foreign funds and retail investors on expectations that the forthcoming Budget will be growth-oriented and the government will accelerate reforms, buoyed the sentiment.

Meanwhile, overseas investors have pumped in over Rs 10,000 crore in Indian capital markets in the first two weeks of this month.

Further, a better trend in other Asian markets following record-closing in the US markets on Friday, boosted the trading sentiment here, they added.

The Nifty and the Sensex opened in the green on positive global cues. The Nifty opened 25 points up at 8,831, while the Sensex opened 76 points up at 29,171.

A report by SMC Investments and Advisors said: “Asian stocks gained with Japan leading the gains recovering from recession. Wall Street closed higher on Friday with the Dow breaking above the 18,000 level and the S&P 500 setting a new record as investors welcomed good news from Greece and Ukraine as well as rising oil prices.”

European stocks were seen steady on Monday, taking a breather following last week’s sharp gains, as investors awaited the euro zone finance ministers’ meeting in Brussels to see if common ground could be found with Greece’s new government.

Japanese shares touched an eight-year high on Monday following a record close on Wall Street, with investors cautiously optimistic the European Union would make progress this week on a debt deal with Greece.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan recouped a small initial loss to inch ahead to 483.90. The index boasted its highest close since late October on Friday but is bumping up against a major band of chart resistance in the 484 to 486 area.

Australia’s main index went flat, while Shanghai shares rose 0.1 per cent. Holidays will be a feature this week with the United States off on Monday and much of Asia celebrating the Lunar New Year. China’s markets are off from February 18 right through to the 24th.

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