Mumbai: The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark Sensex on Friday advanced by 221 points as investors bought stocks at attractive low levels amid a firming global trend.

The Sensex, which had gained 197 points in the previous session, climbed 221.46 points to 18,266.10, led by a rally in blue chips Reliance Industries (RIL) and the largest private sector lender ICICI Bank.

The broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty also advanced by 63.75 points to 5,476.10.

RIL, the most valuable scrip on the 30-share gauge Sensex, picked 1.40 percent to Rs 946.30 a share while ICICI Bank gained 4.23 pc to Rs 1069 a share. IT bellwether Infosys, too, jumped by 0.31 per cent to Rs 2,787.95.

Brokers said trading sentiment improved on a firm global trend after leaders of the G-8 grouping said the world economy was gaining strength. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.6 per cent, its biggest two-day rally since April 21.

The upswing since Friday follows a period of market depression, led by stubbornly high inflation, rising crude prices and high interest rates. Sensex has lost 11 per cent in 2011 so far on concerns that higher borrowing costs would hurt corporate earnings.

The Reserve Bank of India on May 3 increased key interest rates for the ninth time since March 2010 to curb rising prices.

Brokers said investor were in fresh mood on the first day of new settlement in the derivatives segment and picked some of the blue chip at existing lower rates.