Mumbai, May 27 (PTI) The Sensex rallied 996 points while the Nifty surged past the 9,300-mark on Wednesday as investors piled into banking, finance and IT counters ahead of the expiry of monthly derivatives contracts.

Firm global cues and foreign capital inflows added to the buying momentum, traders said.

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After hitting a high of 31,660.60 during the day, the 30-share BSE Sensex settled 995.92 points or 3.25 per cent higher at 31,605.22.

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty surged 285.90 points or 3.17 per cent to 9,314.95.

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Axis Bank was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, climbing 13.46 per cent, followed by ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, IndusInd Bank and Bajaj Finance.

On the other hand, Sun Pharma, UltraTech Cement, Titan and Asian Paints were among the laggards, shedding up to 1.85 per cent.

Despite concerns over COVID-19, market participants preferred to accumulate stocks ahead of the expiry of May futures and options contracts on Thursday, propelling benchmark indices, experts said.

"The benchmark indices staged an intra-day rally in sync with global cues, as some pockets of value buying emerged. Inspite of rising number of infections, markets expect slow return to normalcy, when lockdown 4.0 ends this week.

"...institutional buying in banking stocks helped the bank index gain by over 7 per cent. The volatility is expected to continue, ahead of tomorrow's F&O expiry," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.

BSE bankex rallied 7.31 per cent, followed by finance, IT, metal, teck and energy indices. BSE healthcare was the sole loser, dropping 0.84 per cent.

Broader BSE midcap and smallcap indices closed up to 0.54 per cent higher.

Foreign portfolio investors purchased equities worth a net Rs 4,716.13 crore on Tuesday, provisional exchange data showed.

Global equities were mostly higher as the gradual reopening of economies enthused investors, though simmering US-China tensions and protests in Hong Kong capped the gains.

Bourses in Tokyo and Seoul ended with gains, while Shanghai and Hong Kong closed in the red.

Stock exchanges in Europe were trading with significant gains in early deals.

International oil benchmark Brent crude futures slipped 0.91 per cent to USD 35.84 per barrel.

On the currency front, the rupee depreciated 5 paise to provisionally settle at 75.71 against the US dollar.

Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus cases in India climbed to 1,51,767 and the death toll touched 4,337, as per health ministry data.

Globally, the number of cases linked to the disease has crossed 55.89 lakh, with the death tally at around 3.50 lakh.

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