Mumbai: The BSE Sensex shot past the 18k mark on Wednesday after a gap of over six months to 18,202.41, up 354 points on FII inflows and investor hopes that falling inflation will prompt RBI to ease tight money policy stance.
Besides, equity markets across Asia and Europe were firm on hopes of a resolution to the Greek debt troubles.
Strong third quarter earnings posted by the country's largest auto firm Tata Motors bolstered investor sentiment.
Interest-sensitive stocks in the realty, banking and auto sectors attracted strong buying, helping markets make gains for the third day in a row. Capital goods, power and consumer durables supported the market.
"The bulls were back on the Dalal Street. There was broad based buying in the market after a long time. Positive global cues, easing inflation, continued FIIs buying and short covering lifted the market," said Vikas Vardhan AVP Research Motilal Oswal Securities.
"Banking stocks continued their northbound journey on the hope of a cut in CRR by RBI," he added.
In all, 12 of the 13 sectoral indices closed in the green and only BSE-Oil&Gas ended in the red following a dip in the top Sensex heavyweight, RIL, on reports that the KG-D6 gas fields may see gas output falling next fiscal.
FIIs, which have been picking up Indian equities since the start of this year, bought shares worth Rs 1030.12 crore on Tuesday as per provisional data with stock exchanges. They have pumped in Rs 20,890 crore (over USD 4 billion) till February 13 this year.
The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share Sensex opened at 18K-level and continued to gain through the day, closing at 6-1/2 month high of 18,202.41 -- up 353.84 points or 1.98 percent. It had ended at 18,314.33 on August 1.
The NSE 50-scrip index Nifty regained the 5,500 mark by jumping 115.90 points, or 2.14 percent to 5,531.95.