Mumbai: Extending gains for the fourth straight session, the BSE benchmark Sensex rose by another 53 points in early trade on Thursday on sustained buying by funds and retail investors.

The 30-share barometer, which had gained nearly 300 points in the previous three sessions, up by 53.18 points, or 0.31 percent, at 17,445.57.

All sectoral indices, except capital goods, were trading in the positive zone with gains of up to 0.69 percent.

The wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty moved up by 15.90 points, or 0.30 percent, to 5,315.90.

Brokers said continued buying by funds and retail investors, driven by a cut in lending rate by RBI on Tuesday amid expectations of encouraging Q4 earnings by corporates, mainly influenced the sentiment.

In the Asian region, the Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose by 0.17 percent, while Japan's Nikkei index shed 0.91 percent in morning trade on Thursday. The US Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.63 percent lower in Wednesday's trade.