Mumbai, Feb 16 (PTI)Stock markets rallied for the fourthstraight session today, with the BSE benchmark Sensex ending27 points up at 18,300.90 on continued buying by funds andretail investors amid strong third quarter earnings posted byTata Steel.
In a volatile trade, touching a high of 18,358.84 and alow of 18,216.12, the Bombay Stock Exchange barometer indexSensex ended the day 27.10 points up at 18,300.90.
Buying activity was more pronounced in metals, realty andconsumer durables stock.
The gauge had risen nearly 812 points, or over 4.5 percent in the past three sessions.
National Stock Exchange''s broad-based Nifty also ended ashade higher by 0.70 point at 5,481.70 after shuttling between5,504.80 and 5,460.35.
Stock brokers said reports that foreign funds have beennet buyers on the Indian bourses in the past few sessions andstrong Q3 earnings posted by Tata Steel buoyed the tradingsentiment, triggering buying by retail investors.
Besides, firm openings in European markets influenced thebuyers positively.
There was value buying in stocks with strong fundamentalsand investor created fresh positions on expectations of afurther upward journey in the coming sessions. They shruggedoff mixed trend on the other Asian bourses.
Tata Steel shares gained 4.37 per cent at Rs 643.50 afterthe steelmaker posted an over two-fold jump in consolidatednet profit to Rs 1,003.02 crore for the quarter ended December31, 2010.
Sterlite Industries gained 0.15 per cent to Rs 163.80,while Jindal Steel and Power rose 3.97 to Rs 674.80 on hopesof pick up in demand for metals.
The BSE realty sector index gained the most by rising2.09 per cent to 2,156.96, followed by metal index whichrose by 1.65 per cent to 16,020.55.
"Metal stocks emerged as the centre of brisk activityduring the session, helping Sensex to maintain its winningstreak", said Manaoj Choraria, a Delhi-based stock broker.
He said continued short-covering in select heavy-weightstocks too supported the upward trend.
Among banking counters, the country''s largest lender,State Bank of India finished 0.90 per cent to Rs 2,752.95,while the private sector player ICICI Bank up 0.01 per cent toRs 1,053.15.
Nine of the 13 sectoral indices ended the session in thepositive zone, with the metal and realty, outperformingothers.