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Benchmark Sensex settled higher by 346 points while Nifty inched closer to the 17,100 level in a volatile trade on Wednesday driven by foreign fund inflows and firm trends in global markets.

Buying in services, realty, commodities and auto stocks on the monthly expiry day also aided the momentum.

The 30-share BSE Sensex advanced 346.37 points or 0.60 per cent to close at 57,960.09. During the day, it jumped 510.48 points or 0.88 per cent to 58,124.20.

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The broader NSE Nifty climbed 129 points or 0.76 per cent to end at 17,080.70.

Among the Sensex firms, HCL Technologies, Tata Motors, Hindustan Unilever, NTPC, IndusInd Bank, Bajaj Finserv, Bajaj Finance and Mahindra & Mahindra were the major gainers.

Bharti Airtel, Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank and Asian Paints were the laggards.

Markets managed to gain nearly a per cent on the monthly expiry day amid excessive volatility, Ajit Mishra, VP – Technical Research, Religare Broking Ltd said, adding that a sharp surge in the last half an hour helped barometers notch gains.

Global markets advanced on ebbing concerns that the global financial system might be cracking under the strain of interest rate hikes to cool inflation, analysts said.

“The home market is being impelled to stay non-sticky in both directions by the continuous instability in the international market. The domestic market’s favourable ending was supported by a significant upswing in both the US and European markets.

“This volatility is expected to continue until the global banking system gets fully recovered from the turmoil, along with a confirmation of the Fed’s decision to pause rate hikes,” said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.

Global equities were mostly up on Wednesday as easing concerns over the banking sector revived risk appetite, said Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research, HDFC Securities.

In the broader market, the BSE smallcap gauge climbed 1.68 per cent and midcap index jumped 1.67 per cent.

Among indices, services rallied 3.28 per cent, realty jumped 2.55 per cent, commodities (1.89 per cent), auto (1.74 per cent), industrials (1.66 per cent), metal (1.57 per cent) and capital goods (1.42 per cent).

Oil & Gas index was the only laggard, ending marginally lower.

In Asian markets, Seoul, Japan and Hong Kong ended in the green while Shanghai finished lower.

European markets were quoting in the positive territory during the afternoon trade. The US markets ended lower on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, global oil benchmark Brent crude advanced 0.38 per cent to USD 78.95 per barrel.

Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) were net buyers on Wednesday as they bought equities worth Rs 1,245.39 crore, according to exchange data.

Markets would remain closed on Thursday for Ram Navami. PTI SUM MR