Mumbai: Stocks rose for the third straight day on Tuesday with the Sensex touching nearly three-week high and the Nifty pulling off 10,000 again. The gains were limited as investors tried to cushion their exposure ahead of the corporate results, which serve as a barometer to find out if the recent market rally is in keeping with its fundamentals. The July-September quarterly results are going to formally kick off with TCS, which is set to announce its numbers on Thursday. Reliance Industries is lined up next.

Driven by pharma, oil and gas and banking stocks, the Sensex ended at 31,924.41, up 77.52 points, or 0.24%. This is its highest closing since 21 September when it read 32,370.04. The gauge had climbed 254.86 points in the previous two days. The 50-share NSE Nifty closed came in at 10,016.95, higher by 28.20 points, or 0.28%, after shuttling between 10,034 and 10,002.30.

“Main indices traded on a positive note, but investors’ cautious view on valuation and upcoming earnings season influenced profit booking on every rise. But mid and small cap attracted investor attention led by ease in GST rates and stock-specific actions while pharma gained after a series of approvals from the USFDA," said Vinod Nair, head of research, Geojit Financial Services Ltd.

Domestic financial institutions continued to hold ground and retail investors built up more bets amid a firming Asian trend, said analysts. Domestic institutional investors net picked up shares worth Rs55.42 crore on Monday. Foreign portfolio investors exited, net pulling out shares amounting to Rs475.11 crore, showed provisional data.

IT, power, capital goods and auto sectors were other major winners of the day. Key European indices trended down early on. Drugmaker Lupin topped the Sensex list by surging 1.99% to Rs1,060.50 after the US Food and Drug Administration approved its generic drug to treat hypertension.

India’s second-largest IT firm Infosys went up 1.29% to Rs935.60 after the company said it has fixed 1 November, as the record date for its share buyback programme. Other big movers were PowerGrid, Axis Bank, RIL and Coal India. As for sectoral indices, utilities took the lead, followed by energy. Broader markets such as small-cap and mid-cap indices left the key indices behind, surging up to 0.95%.