Mumbai: The BSE Sensex made gains of 145 points, for the third day in a row and closed over 18,350, shrugging off rise in food inflation.

The Bombay Stock Exchange Sensex, opened up in tandem with positive Asian markets and remained in the green through the day, ending at 18,350.74 -- a gain of 144.58 points or 0.79 per cent.

The NSE 50-issue Nifty also improved further by 42.15 points or 0.77 per cent to end above 5,500-mark at 5,522.40.
Realty, auto and capital goods witnessed good buying, as well as short-coverings by operators ahead of the expiry of the monthly derivatives contract on March 31.

The investor sentiment remained upbeat on the positives of the past couple of days -- the tabling of the two reforms bills on banking and indirect taxes in the Lok Sabha, easing concerns over Japan's nuclear problems and legendary US investor Warren Buffett's indications to invest in India in a big way.

Hindalco Ind, the country's largest aluminium maker, was the top gainer from the Sensex pack, up 4.25 per cent on surge in metal prices on London Metals Exchange (LMEX) on Wednesday.

"The Indian market extended its winning streak to three days as healthy inflows from FIIs in the previous session bolstered the sentiment," said Amar Ambani, IIFL Head of Research (India Private Clients).