Sensex gains 72 points in opening trade

Mumbai: The BSE benchmark Sensex rose by over 72 points in opening trade on Wednessday  on sustained buying by funds, with Tata Steel attracting the most interest after it posted strong earnings results for the third quarter.

The 30-share index of the Bombay Stock Exchange rose by 72.30 points, or 0.40 per cent, to 18,346.10 points in opening trade today. The Sensex gained nearly 812 points in the previous three sessions.

Similarly, the wide-based National Stock Exchange Nifty index gained 10.70 points, or 0.19 per cent, to 5,491.70 in opening trade today.

Traders said in addition to the strong corporate earnings posted by Tata Steel, continued short-covering by speculators also buoyed the sentiment, helping the Sensex maintain its upward journey.

Stocks of Tata Steel rose by 2.19 per cent to Rs 630.05 after the company posted an over two-fold jump in consolidated net profit to Rs 1,003.02 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2010.

Meanwhile, Japan`s Nikkei Index was up by 0.11 per cent and Hong Kong`s Hang Seng Index down 0.12 per cent in early trade today.

In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Index ended 0.34 per cent lower yesterda