Mumbai: The BSE benchmark Sensex rose by over 206 points in early trade on Thursday on funds buying propelled by hopes of better quarterly results and a firming trend on other Asian bourses.

The wide-based Nifty of the National Stock Exchange regained the psychological 5,000 points mark rising by 57.05 points, or 1.15 percent to 5,012.85, for the first time since December 8 last year.

The 30-share Sensex, which had lost 14.58 points in the previous session, surged by 206.02 points, or 1.25 percent, to 16,657.49.

Brokers said sentiments on the domestic boures buoyed in line with a firming trend in other Asian markets following overnight gains in the US after surprisingly strong housing figures and International Monetary Fund's plan to expand its lending resources to counter Europe's debt crisis.

Expectations of encouraging third quarter earnings by corporates also triggered buying activity, they added.

In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose by 0.75 percent and Japan's Nikkei Index by 0.54 percent in morning trade on Thursday.

The US Dow Jones Industrial average ended 0.78 percent higher on Wednesday.