MUMBAI The BSE Sensex rose for a fourth consecutive session on Thursday, as auto stocks extended a rally while Infosys recovered from recent sharp losses, though plenty of caution remains in the midst of the corporate earnings reporting season.
Traders are particularly looking forward to earnings from blue chip Reliance Industries on Friday, which could help determine market direction in the near term, dealers said.
Investors are also hoping for a removal of the uncertainty behind a financial proposal dubbed GAAR, which was part of the fiscal 2013 budget unveiled in mid-March.
The bill would retroactively tax indirect foreign investments, and some analysts have blamed the stagnation in Indian stock markets since then to that proposal.
"In April, markets would remain range-bound and may retest to 5,145 levels," said Prakash Diwan, head of the Institutional Clients Group at Asit C.Mehta Investment Intermediates.
"Fresh allocations would happen in May after Finance bill gets passed in the first week and more clarification comes on so-called GAAR."
The Sensex rose 0.6 percent to 17,503.71 points, while the Nifty advanced 0.6 percent to 5,332.40.
The four-day winning streak was the longest one since the gains in the four sessions to March 14.
Auto makers led gainers, with the BSE auto index ending up for a sixth straight session after hitting a new all-time high.
Expectations that auto sales will improve after this week's aggressive interest rate cut from the Reserve Bank of India is helping sustain the rally in auto shares.
Tata Motors (TAMO.NS) rose 3.1 percent while Maruti Suzuki (MRTI.NS) gained 2.9 percent.
Infosys ended up 1.4 percent, as the nearly 14 percent drop since it disappointed investors with its revenue outlook on Friday was seen as overdone.
Shares in HDFC Bank rose strongly for a second day, advancing 3.1 percent and earlier touching a record high of 555.60 rupee, after the private lender posted on Thursday a 30.3 percent rise in quarterly net profit.
However, among decliners, Bharat Heavy Electricals lost 3.9 percent after Morgan Stanley resumed coverage of the stock with an "Underweight" rating citing an over-supplied power equipment market among other factors.
ACC, India's No. 2 cement maker, dropped 3.8 percent after reporting a 57 percent fall in quarterly profit due to a one-time charge.
(Editing by Rafael Nam)