Mumbai, Apr 17 (PTI) Indian stocks clocked their ninth straight gains today, the longest winning streak in over three years, with the benchmark Sensex rising nearly 90 points after the Met department’s normal monsoon forecast further lifted investor sentiments.

Besides, positive cues from other Asian markets and a higher opening in European shares following an encouraging lead from Wall Street had a good influence on trading.

This nine-session winning run is the longest for the equity benchmarks Sensex and Nifty since September 2014.

The Meteorological Department yesterday forecast that the country will receive “normal” monsoon rainfall this year, raising hopes of higher farm output and a boost for the rain-dependent rural economy.

“Market remains in a trading range led by normal monsoon forecast and positive earnings expectation. However, underlying caution ahead of state election and volatility in crude price refrained the market from a decisive upmove. IT index slid despite a weak INR as lowering of margin guidance for FY19 added concerns in the mind of investors,” Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services Ltd, said.

The World Bank yesterday forecast a growth rate of 7.3 per cent for India this year and 7.5 per cent for 2019 and 2020, and noted that the country’s economy has recovered from the effects of demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax.

Power, realty, FMCG, consumer durables, metal, infra, PSU and oil and gas and banking stocks emerged front-runners on sustained buying by participants.

However, IT, teck, healthcare and auto stocks saw profit-booking.

The 30-share Sensex opened on a strong footing and moved ahead to hit the day’s high of 34,434.14 as buying momentum picked up.

But gains were trimmed due to profit-booking at higher levels and the barometer slipped into negative zone to touch a low of 34,229.83 before settling 89.63 points, or 0.26 per cent, higher at 34,395.06, its highest level since February 26 when it settled at 34,445.75.

The gauge had gained 1,286.36 points in the previous eight sessions.

On similar lines, the NSE Nifty gathered 20.35 points, or 0.19 per cent, to close at 10,548.70, after moving in the range of 10,560.45 and 10,495.65.

Meanwhile, foreign portfolio investors sold shares worth Rs 308.13 crore on a net basis, while domestic institutional investors sold equities to the tune of Rs 28.97 crore yesterday, provisional data showed.

Stocks of jewellery and ornament makers turned buyers’ fancy ahead of ‘Akshaya Tritiya’ tomorrow, considered as an auspicious day for buying precious metals.

Among the Sensex constituents, Power Grid emerged as the best performer by surging 2.94 per cent, followed by NTPC 1.99 per cent.

Other big gainers include HUL 1.83 per cent, ICICI Bank 1.50 per cent, ITC Ltd 1.23 per cent, Bharti Airtel 1.09 per cent, M&M 1.05 per cent, HDFC Ltd 1.03 per cent, Coal India 0.88 per cent, Bajaj Auto 0.88 per cent, HDFC Bank 0.79 per cent, RIL 0.69 per cent and Tata Steel 0.58 per cent.

In contrast, IT stocks led by Wipro fell 1.14 per cent. Infosys was down 0.69 per cent and TCS declined 0.59 per cent due to selling pressure.

Sector-wise, the BSE power index ended 1.23 per cent higher followed by realty 1.21 per cent, consumer durables 1.05 per cent, FMCG 1.05 per cent, infrastructure 0.56 per cent, oil & gas 0.46 per cent, PSU 0.44 per cent, metal 0.25 per cent and bankex 0.05 per cent.

While IT index declined 0.38 per cent, teck shed 0.36 per cent. Auto was down 0.23 per cent, followed by healthcare 0.21 per cent and capital goods 0.19 per cent.

The broader markets too continued to rule firm as investors were seen enlarging their bets, lifting the small-cap and mid-cap indices by 0.28 per cent each.

Jewellery maker counters like Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri moved up 5.77 per cent, while Titan Company rose 1.55 per cent and PC Jeweller 1.53 per cent.

Globally, in the Asian region, Japan’s Nikkei moved up 0.06 per cent and Singapore rose 0.13 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.83 per cent and Shanghai Composite index slid 1.41 per cent.

In the Eurozone, Frankfurt’s DAX rose 0.66 per cent and Paris CAC was higher 0.31 per cent in the early session. London’s FTSE edged higher 0.05 per cent.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.