Mumbai, Nov 19: Ending its six-day string of losses, the BSE benchmark Sensex today advanced by 30 points to close at 18,339 on the back of gains in Maruti Suzuki, Bharti Airtel and ITC amid a firming global trend. The Sensex, which had tumbled to two-month lows by losing 593 points in the past six sessions, recovered 29.63 points, or 0.16 per cent to 18,339 led by auto and FMCG sectors.
The index moved between 18,386.78 and 18,256.07 during trading. 13 stocks of the 30-share Sensex gained while 17 including Tata Power, TCS, Tata Steel and HDFC declined.
Brokers said buying at low levels in selective counters helped Sensex end in positive zone amid investors judging the recent losses as overdone.
Maruti led the gainers in Sensex with a 3.87 per cent rise, followed by Bharti Airtel. The telecom major shot up to three-month high by adding 2.89 per cent on reports that Credit Suisse has upgraded the stock to "outperform".
ITC, Bajaj Auto and M&M rose in 1.6-2.7 per cent range. Sectorally, the BSE Auto sector index gained the most by rising 1.04 per cent, followed by BSE FMCG index (0.87 per cent), BSE TECk (0.06 per cent and BSE realty (0.02 per cent).
"After initial volatility, the markets remained range bound for most of the day. While we had seen sharp declines toward the end of the last week, today any kind of fall was arrested by the strengthening of Rupee versus US dollar. The US dollar fell 0.4 per cent for the day," said Milan Bavishi, Head Research, Inventure Growth & Securities.
Traders said the domestic stock market was helped by firming Asian trends and higher opening in Europe on reports that US President Barack Obama has signalled confidence of striking a deal with Congress on a new budget.
However, the 50-share National Stock Exchange index Nifty eased by 2.65 points to settle at 5,571.40.