Mumbai: The Sensex snapped two-day decline and gained over 265 points to close at 18,439.48. The Sensex gained on buying strong stocks like RIL and Infosys, as fall in crude oil prices and lower than expected inflation improved market sentiment.

The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark index Sensex, which had lost 295 points in the last two sessions, bounced back by 265.39 points to 18,439.48.

The broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty spurt 86.05 points to 5,531.50 on the back of fresh rise in the two most heaviest-weighted stocks of Reliance Industries and Infosys Technologies.

Reliance rose to two-month high, gaining Rs 26.05 at Rs 1,017.65 as lower cost of crude improved the prospects of its profitability. Infosys, the largest software exporter raised Rs 44.80 to Rs 3,099.25. The two stocks carry nearly 23 per cent weightage on the 30-stock barometer Sensex.

Inflation rose marginally to 8.31 per cent during February from 8.23 per cent in the previous month. Brokers said it was lower than projections and reduced worries of a steep hike in interest rates that hit corporate profits.

They said crude oil declined to the lowest level in two weeks on anticipation that the earthquake in Japan will reduce demand for the time being.

The oil and gas sector index gained the most by rising 2.24 per cent to 9,936.95, followed by metal sector index by 2.01 per cent to 15,676.33 as Tata Steel rebound from a 6-month low.