Sensex up by 216 pts

Mumbai: Fresh buying at banking, metal and realty counters pushed up the BSE benchmark Sensex by 216 points in early trade today despite mixed global cues.

The BSE benchmark Sensex resumed higher at 18,362.45 and shot up further to 18,563.75 before quoting at 18,551.75 at 1015 hours, showing a net gain of 215.96 points, or 1.18 per cent.

The NSE`s 50-share Nifty also moved up by 58.35 points, or 1.06 per cent, to 5,544.50 at 1015 hours.

Major gainers from the Sensex pack include Hindalco (2.61 per cent), Hero Honda (2.02 per cent), Jaiprakash Associates (2.00 per cent), ONGC (1.90 per cent), DLF (1.85 per cent), Sterlite Ind (1.72 per cent), ICICI Bank (1.62 per cent) and ITC (1.58 per cent).

Caution prevailed ahead of the results of Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala, Assam and West Bengal.

Most Asian shares declined in early trade, reacting to China`s rate tightening news. The People`s Bank of China increased banks` reserve requirements by 50 basis points, the eighth time since October, in an attempt to ease inflationary pressures. The key benchmark indices in Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong fell by between 0.08 per cent to 1.25 per cent.

US markets closed with gains yesterday as a decline in the dollar led to higher commodity prices and boosted the appetite for riskier assets. The Dow gained 65.89 points or 0.52 per cent and the Nasdaq rose 17.98 points, or 0.63 per cent.