Mumbai: The BSE Sensex advanced in the first trading session of the new fiscal on Monday, adding 74 points although HSBC's India manufacturing index showed declining a trend.

Brokers said investor hopes that liquidity may ease in the coming days and positive cues from European markets propped Indian equities.

Sensex, which had gained 346 points in the previous session, moved up 73.95 points or 0.42 percent to 17,478.15.

Brokers said investors were expecting an interest rate cut by the Reserve Bank and steps to infuse more liquidity at this month's monetary policy review.

Besides, they said, buying by foreign investors created fresh positions on the first day of the 2012-13 fiscal.

The NSE 50-scrip index Nifty rose 22.35 points, or 0.42 percent, to 5,317.90.

Higher openings in European market also supported investor sentiment.

Meanwhile, the HSBC India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) - a measure of factory production - stood at 54.7 in March, down from 56.6 in February. In January, the PMI stood at 57.5.

A reading above 50 shows that the sector is growing, while a reading below 50 means the segment is contracting.

The consumer durables sector index gained the most – up 3.89 percent at 6,651.23, followed by power - 1.89 percent at 2,130.55. Capital goods index rose 1.74 percent to 10,202.46 and realty index by 1.59 percent to 1,805.19.

In the 30-BSE index, 19 stocks closed higher while 11 ended with losses. The major gainer were L&T, BHEL, TCS, NTPC, DLF, Bharti Airtel, Cipla, Gail India, Hero MotoCorp, M&M, ONGC and Wipro.

(Agencies)