BSE Building new
BSE Building newReuters file

Sensex and Nifty gained modestly on Wednesday on the back of a rally in global crude oil prices to 2016 highs and ahead of the expiry of April Futures & Options contracts on Thursday. The S&P BSE Sensex closed 57 points higher at 26,064 despite opening in the red, while the NSE Nifty also ended with a gain of 17 points to close at 7,980.

According to a Reuters report, crude oil prices rising to 2016 highs buoyed market sentiments. 

Asian equities closed lower as market participants waited policy decision from the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan that are meeting on Wednesday and Thursday. 

Japan's Nikkei closed 0.36 percent lower at 17,290, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 0.21 percent to 21,361 and the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index also ended with losses.

Top Sensex gainers were Adani Ports, Bharti Airtel and ONGC, while stocks that witnessed selling pressure included ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and State Bank of India.

Bharti Airtel closed 3.54 percent higher at Rs. 373.15 ahead of its fourth-quarter results.

On the NSE, the 50-scrip Nifty rallied with support from Adani Ports, Bharti Airtel and ONGC, while ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, State Bank of India, UltraTech Cement and Tata Power pulled it down.

CNBC-TV18 reported that the government's 11.36 percent stake sale in electricity generator NHPC began on a positive note on Wednesday with the portion earmarked for institutional investors getting oversubscribed 1.55 times in a short time. Bids were received for 156.33 crore shares as against 100.61 crore shares on offer.

There is more scope for a rally in the coming days in view of a slew of positive factors, according to a stock market broker.

"This market still has more legs and we'll see significantly higher levels as the month progresses. The earnings season has been decent. Monsoon will also act as a trigger. Hopefully, we'll have more surprises than accidents. My sense is that the next few months could be very good for equities," the Economic Times quoted BSE and NSE member Dipan Mehta as saying.