Smallcap and midcap stocks, however, witnessed volatility as the railway budget did not contain any big-bang measure even as passenger fares and freight rates were left untouched.

The BSE Sensex resumed higher at 20,449.83 and firmed up further to a high of 20,516.60 on initial strong buying. It declined afterwards to 20,427.23, before settling at 20,448.49 -- showing a rise of 85.12 points of 0.42 percent. This is the best gain since 86.55-point increase on January 22, 2014.

Yesterday, the bluechip index rose by 29.10 points.     

Shares of refinery, capital goods and banking sectors saw good demand while metal, FMCG and realty suffered losses.

ICICI Bank (3.11 percent), GAIL (2.57 percent) and ONGC (2.50 percent) led the 17 gainers in 30-share index.

Index heavyweight RIL rose 1.48 percent after shedding about two per cent yesterday after Delhi government said police complaints would be filed against RIL, its Chairman Mukesh Ambani and Oil Minister Veerappa Moily for creating an artificial shortage of gas in the country and raising prices.

Tata Steel, ITC and Maruti Suzuki were among biggest laggards in the BSE Sensex.

"Shares of companies related to Rail budget, were seen losing from 2-7 percent, due to lack of major expected announcements. Kernex, Kalindee, Stone India were some of the stocks impacted," said Rakesh Goyal, Senior Vice President, Bonanza Portfolio.

Meanwhile, the NSE 50-share Nifty rose 21.30 points, or 0.35 percent, to end at 6,084.00.

Globally, Asian indices ended higher following upbeat trade data from China. An optimistic economic outlook from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen also whetted investors' risk appetite. Indices in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan rose 0.20-1.47 percent.

European stocks were also trading higher as indices in France, Germany and the UK firmed up.

(Agencies)

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