Indian shares edged higher on Thursday and extended their gains into a sixth session, driven by information technology stocks, although falls in banks and oil marketing companies capped the rise.
The Nifty IT index rose as much as 2.9 percent to its highest since February 2 and was headed for a third consecutive session of gains on a weakening rupee and expectations of positive quarterly results. On Wednesday, it broke above a resistance from its descending trend line, suggesting that there was no more selling pressure.
Software services exporter Infosys Ltd will kick-start the January-March corporate results season on Friday.
HCL Technologies Ltd rose as much as 4.4 percent, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd climbed 3.5 percent and Infosys gained up to 3 percent.
Investors now await March retail inflation data due after market hours on Thursday for cues about the economy. Retail inflation likely eased to a five-month low in March as increases in food prices slowed once again but remained above the central bank's medium-term target, a Reuters poll found.
"Markets are rising in anticipation of earnings coming through. Further, there are early indications of increasing investment that is helping offset some softness in the services side," said Sunil Sharma, chief investment officer at Sanctum Wealth Management.
The broader NSE Nifty was up 0.16 percent at 10,433.70 as of 0548 GMT, while the benchmark BSE Sensex was 0.29 percent higher at 34,038.57. Both the indexes were on track for their longest winning streak since January.
Among gainers, Biocon Ltd rose as much as 2.8 percent to its highest in more than a month on potential benefits from Mylan NV's tie-up with Fujifilm Kyowa Kirin Biologics.
Oil marketing companies extended their decline as tensions over Syria pushed up crude oil prices globally. Both Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd dropped over 3 percent, while Indian Oil Corp Ltd plunged nearly 5 percent.
State-run lenders also continued to fall with the Nifty PSU bank index down over 1 percent. IDBI Bank Ltd dropped as much as 3.1 percent to a one-week low after the Reserve Bank of India penalised the lender for failure to adhere to the norms of income regulation and asset reclassification.
The Nifty metal index dropped for the first time in four sessions, with recent outperformer Hindustan Zinc Ltd shedding over 2 percent.