Indian shares rose marginally on Wednesday, helped by energy and financial stocks, but gains were capped as volatile crude oil prices and uncertainty around the outcome of general election kept investor sentiment muted.
The broader Nifty was up 0.26 percent at 11,605.85 as of 0637 GMT, while the benchmark Sensex was 0.25 percent higher at 38,659.83.
Volumes continued to be lacklustre on the NSE, with about 145 million shares trading by mid-day compared with the 30-day average of nearly 340 million shares
Oil companies such as Indian Oil Corp Ltd and Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd gained as oil prices retreated amid signs that global markets remain adequately supplied.
Brent crude futures were at $74.21 per barrel at 0635 GMT, down 30 cents from their last close. It has risen 12.8 percent since March.
Crude futures rose to 2019 highs earlier during the week after the United States said it would end all exemptions for sanctions against Iran, demanding countries halt oil imports from Tehran from May or face punitive action from Washington.
Refiners in India are the world's third-biggest oil importer and Iran's top oil client after China.
Oil and Natural Gas Corp rose as much as 4.1 percent and was the top percent gainer on the NSE index. Reliance Industries, top boost on the index, rose 1.2 percent.
"Market participants are now cautious due to election uncertainty and oil prices," said Saurabh Jain, AVP Research, SMC Global Securities.
"Earlier, they were pricing in a BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) victory, but the voting turnout looks to be lesser than expected. Secondly, FII (foreign institutional investors) inflows have also dipped this month compared to last month," Jain said, adding that market will now move according to how corporate results pan out.
As of Tuesday, about 66 percent of those eligible had voted by the end of the day, in the third and largest phase of a staggered general election that will go on till May 19.
Among gainers, IT stocks advanced on the back of a weaker rupee. Infosys Ltd added 0.8 percent, while Tata Consultancy Services rose nearly 1 percent.
Meanwhile, cement maker ACC Ltd marked its worst day since October 19 as rising costs and low cement realisations disappointed during the March quarter.