Mumbai:  Erasing initial gains, the BSE benchmark Sensex on Wednesday closed with a moderate gain of 34 points on profit-booking after the surge it had made following RBI's cut in the short-term lending rate.

Intra-day, Sensex touched 17,522.80 but ended the day at 17,392.39 -- up just 34.45 points, or 0.20 per cent. It had gained over 263 points in the last two sessions. The NSE 50-scrips index Nifty added 10.30 points, or 0.19 per cent to 5,300.

The market opened strong on firm Asian trend, but lower openings in Europe triggered profit booking.

Auto firms gained the most on expectations of lower rates after the Reserve Bank cut short term interest rate by 0.50 per cent yesterday that will lead to cheaper loans. The auto sector index rose by 1.52 per cent to 10,529.39 as Tata Motors spurted 2.70 per cent, Hero MotoCorp - 0.87 per cent, Maruti Suzuki - 0.62 per cent, Apollo Tyres - 2.02 per cent and Bajaj Auto - 2.59 per cent.

The heaviest on Sensex - Reliance Industries rose 0.40 per cent ahead of its fourth quarter results.
ITC, which had rallied 10 per cent in last six sessions, fell by 1.79 per cent and SBI was down 0.45 per cent.  Of the 30 Sensex stocks, 18 closed with gains.

(Agencies)