Sensex up by 61 pts in morning trade

Mumbai: The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark Sensex was up by 61 points in early trade today, amid renewed interest in realty and auto counters and mixed Asian cues.

The 30-share Sensex was up by 61.07 points, or 0.33 per cent, at 18,357.23 at 1015 hours, while the National Stock Exchange`s 50-share Nifty index was up by 20.85 points, or 0.38 per cent, at 5,490.05.

The key benchmark indices recovered from early losses registered in initial trade after select Asian markets turned positive. However, the underlying tone in world markets was nervous on continued unrest in Libya.

Stocks may remain volatile in the near term ahead of the expiry of near-month derivatives contracts on Thursday.

As per provisional figures, foreign funds sold shares worth Rs 386.26 crore yesterday.

Select Asian markets turned positive after an initial slide triggered by mounting concern that instability in the Middle East and North Africa may derail a global recovery.

The key indices in Indonesia, China and South Korea were up by between 0.04 per cent and 0.08 per cent. However, the key indices in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan fell by between 0.02 per cent to 0.41 per cent.

The US stock markets suffered their biggest loss of the year yesterday as escalating tensions in the Middle East and North Africa sent oil prices soaring, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling by 178.46 points.