A man walks past the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai September 21, 2010.Reuters

Indian stock markets advanced for the first time in three days on Thursday, helped by gains from metal and realty sector shares.

The benchmark BSE Sensex gained 0.51 percent, or 94.38 points, to 18,759.26. The 50 share NSE Nifty advanced 0.73 percent, or 40.10 points, to 5,529.20.

Markets opened on a high note, tracking positive cues from Asian peers. Both Sensex and Nifty recovered slightly after plunging nearly 3 percent in the last two days as the Indian rupee recovered from its all time closing low, while gains in metal and realty sectors also offered support.

The Indian rupee advanced by 50 paise to 60.90 against the US dollar after closing at a fresh record low of 61.30 on Wednesday.

All the 13 BSE sectoral indices ended with gains except healthcare and oil & gas sector. Metal sector surged 2.65 percent and realty sector gained 2.34 percent and, while power sector advanced 1.28 percent and auto sector rose 1.10 percent.

The overall market breadth is positive with 1375 advanced against 875 declines on the BSE.

Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd shares rallied 28.41 percent as the company reported better-than-expected second quarter results. Second quarter net loss narrowed to 524.24 crore rupees from 585.72 crore rupees reports in the same quarter last year.

Meanwhile, Asian stock markets mostly advanced on Thursday as better-than-expected China trade data eased concerns about the slowdown in the world's second largest economy. Official data showed that Chinese exports surged 5.1 percent on an annual basis in July after declining 3.1 percent in the previous month and also topped Reuters forecast for a 3 percent gain.

"A lot of risk assets over the past few weeks have been on a negative trend, and I think a few people are thinking this Chinese data is an opportunity to buy," Angus Campbell, market analyst at FXPro, told Reuters.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.31 percent and South Korea's KOSPI rose 0.30 percent, while Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 declined 1.59 percent and China's Shanghai Composite fell 0.09 percent.