Mumbai: The BSE benchmark index Sensex on Friday recovered by over 77 points in early trade on fresh buying by funds and retail investors, supported by a firming trend in other Asian markets.

The 30-share index, which had lost 168.71 points on Thursday, recovered by 77.42 points, or 0.44 percent, to 17,661.39 points with stocks of the auto, metal, power and banking sector leading the recovery.

The wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty moved up by 22.20 points, or 0.42 percent, to 5,362.25.

Brokers said fresh buying by funds and retail investors amid a firming trend in Asian markets following overnight gains on the US markets, bolstered trading sentiment here.

Stocks of auto makers attracted increased buying support largely on the back rise in their sale in February, they said.

Tata Motors up by 0.69 percent to Rs 269.50, Maruti Suzuki by 1 percent to Rs 1,327.45, while Hero MotoCorp by 0.99 percent to Rs 1,960.

In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose by 1.07 percent, while Japan's Nikkei index up by 0.68 percent in the morning trade on Friday.

The US Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.22 percent higher in on Friday's trade.