Mumbai (Agencies): The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark Sensex gained for the fifth straight session on Thursday adding nearly 206 points to close at 18,506.82 on funds buying amid easing food inflation and firm global trends.

The Sensex, which gained 840 points in the past four trading sessions, jumped another 205.92 points to 18,506.82 on reports that food inflation fell to a two-month low, easing
concerns about sharp interest rate hike.

Food inflation fell for second time in a row to 11.05 per cent for the week ended February 5 from 13.07 per cent in the previous week.

The broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty also rose by 64.75 points to 5,546.45, with stocks in interest sensitive sectors like bank, capital goods and auto recording handsome gains.

The capital goods index gained the most by rising 1.93 per cent to 13,396.16 followed by banking index by 1.50 per cent to 12,637.93.

HDFC Ltd, the largest mortgage company stocks spurted by 3.15 per cent to Rs 649.35 and its banking arm HDFC Bank by 4.15 per cent to Rs 2,183.80. Dena Bank rose 2.11 per cent to Rs 99.10 on reports the government plans to invest Rs 5.39 billion by the purchase of preferential shares.

The metal sector index rose by 0.70 per cent to 16,106.98 as Steel Authority of India, the second-largest producer, gained 1.75 per cent to Rs 166.05 after reports that the company may build a plant in Mongolia.

With the broad-based buying, the smallcap index rose by 0.94 per cent to 8,324.56 and midcap index by 0.91 per cent to 6,796.39.