Mumbai: In volatile trade, Sensex rose for the third straight day on Thursday edging up 23 points, led by FMCG, power and PSU stocks, amid hopes Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will take steps to boost the economy and halt the rupee slide.

The BSE benchmark index, which had gained 86 points in last two trading sessions, traded in a narrow 115-point range and closed at 16,990.76, up 23 points or 0.14 percent.

In 30-share Sensex, 15 counters including Tata Steel, Hero MotoCorp, NTPC, ITC, Coal India, Tata Power and TCS gained in the 1-1.8 percent range.

After Singh on Wednesday called for reversing the mood of pessimism, top bureaucrats on Thursday took stock of the economic situation with secretaries of various ministries to firm steps for arresting the slowdown in growth.

For the second day in a row, Sensex scaled the 17,000-mark but could not close above the level at closing as investors were seen selling to cover up their pending positions on expiry of June's derivative contracts.

The 50-share NSE index Nifty moved between 5,159.05 and 5,125.30 before ending 7.25 points higher at 5,149.15.

"Sentiments improved domestically on reports of PM taking over the Finance portfolio and meeting senior officials to plan out country's economic revival steps. But, volatility associated with F&O expiry day was very much into play," said Shanu Goel, Senior Research Analyst, Bonanza Portfolio.

Dealers also said a weak global trend capped local shares' gains with European indices trading lower while Asian indices closed mixed as investors adopted a cautious stance ahead of a two-day EU leader’s summit.

Meanwhile, the rupee was trading below the 57-level on Thursday against the dollar after closing at 57.15 -- the all-time closing figure recorded on June 22. The currency has so far lost 7 percent in 2012.


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