Mumbai: Equities jumped for a second straight session today, led by gains in auto stocks on forecast of an 'above normal' rains this year, following back-to-back monsoon failures, while domestic investors and foreign funds increased buying ahead of key macroeconomic data due later in the day.
A firm opening in Europe and a mixed trend in regional markets also buoyed trading sentiment here.
The benchmark BSE Sensex surged by 123 points to 25,145.59 on sustained buying ahead of key macroeconomic data -- IIP for February and Consumer Price Index (CPI) for March.
Broader markets also continued to display firm trend as retail investors enlarged their exposure, with the BSE mid-cap index rising 1 percent and small-cap gaining 0.90 percent.
Meanwhile, forecaster Skymet had yesterday said rainfall in India is expected to be 'above average' this year.
Indian Meteorological Department today came out with its prediction, saying the monsoon will be "above normal" and there would be fair distribution across the country.
Consequently, agriculture-linked stocks were in the limelight. Major gainers were Insecticides (India) at 16.17 percent followed by Jain Irrigation Systems 6.13 percent, Chambal Fertilisers 4.07 percent, Kaveri Seed 3.39 percent and Deepak Fertilisers 0.75 percent.
Moreover, from auto pack, Maruti Suzuki, Hero MotoCorp, Tata Motors, Bajaj Auto and M&M surged by up to 2.82 percent.
The 30-share Sensex after shuttling between 25,180.02 and 24,996.44, finally ended 123.43 points or 0.49 percent higher at 25,145.59, its highest closing since April 4. Yesterday, the index had by rallied 348.32 points.
The broader NSE Nifty recaptured the 7,700-mark and ended at 7,708.95, up 37.55 points or 0.49 percent. Intra-day, it touched a high and a low of 7,717.40 and 7,663.35.
Stocks of jewellery firms, Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri rose 4.60 percent to Rs 64.80 and PC Jewellers surged 3.57 percent to Rs 361.40 after they reopened shops following six weeks of protest against the 1 percent excise duty on non-silver jewellery.
From Asia, Japan's Nikkei settled 1.13 percent higher and indices in Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea moved up by 0.19 percent to 0.56 percent, while those in China and Taiwan fell by up to 0.37 percent.
Europe was narrowly mixed with indices in France and the UK down by up to 0.10 percent while Germany's Dax was up by 0.20 percent.