Sensex, Nifty, Midcap hold early gains; ICICI, Bajaj Auto rally

Equity benchmarks retained early gains, with the Nifty inching towards psychological 9000 level, supported by auto, metals, banking & financials and oil stocks. However, ITC and Infosys capped upside.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 123.30 points at 29107.79 and the 50-share NSE Nifty gained 36.50 points at 8982.30. The broader markets were also up 0.4 percent on positive breadth.

About 1464 shares advanced against 891 declining shares on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Bajaj Auto gained over a percent after auto sales data. Its total sales increased to 2.73 lakh units in February 2017 from 2.72 lakh units in year-ago month, driven by exports.

ICICI Bank gained 1.6 percent after a media report indicated that global private equity firms including The Carlyle Group, Warburg Pincus Llc and Advent International have evinced interest in acquiring the 35 percent stake in ICICI Lombard General Insurance held by Canadian financial institution Fairfax Financial Holdings.

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