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MUMBAI : The Bank Nifty logged a lifetime high for the second consecutive session on Wednesday led by Kotak Mahindra Bank and HDFC Bank, while NSE Nifty ended marginally higher by 6.25 points or 0.03%t to 18,409.65.

The 12 constituent Bank Nifty hit a lifetime high of 42611.75, but pared some gains to close up 0.38% at 42,535.

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Expectations of incremental credit growth and lower provisions have put banks on top of investor charts.

Kotak Mahindra Bank broke out, gaining 2.8% to close at 1965.9, followed by HDFC Bank, which closed a percent higher at 1,632.90.

“Kotak Bank and HDFC Bank will lead the index higher from hereon supported by stocks such as ICICI Bank, Axis and SBI," said Gautam Arora , derivatives analyst at Religare Broking. Its short term Bank Nifty target is 43,500-44,000 .

“We are positive on banking and now even smaller PSUs such as Bank of India and Union Bank of India have begun performing alongside heavyweights like SBI," said Siddhartha Khemka, head of research retail, Motilal Oswal Financial Services .

Bank Nifty has risen 32.5% from its 52-week low of 32155.35 on March 8, outperforming the Nifty, which at Wednesday’s close of 18410 trades a percent below its record high of 18,604.45 hit on October 19 last year .

The BSE Sensex also moved up 107.73 points or 0.17% to hit a record closing high of 61,980.72, helped by buying in banking counters. During the day, the index hit its 52-week high of 62,052.57, up by 179.58 points.

The Sensex lifetime high is 62245.43, which it hit on October 19 last year.

Among Sensex stocks, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Hindustan Unilever, Dr Reddy’s, HDFC Bank, Bharti Airtel, HDFC, and Tata Consultancy Services were among the winners. Bajaj Finance, Tata Steel, NTPC, Bajaj Finserv, UltraTech Cement, and IndusInd Bank were among the laggards.

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) offloaded shares worth 386.06 crore on Wednesday, according to exchange data.

“As the domestic market has started to trade around the all-time high levels, it is trending indecisively following the recent geopolitical tensions and weak performance by global counterparts. Domestic macroeconomic indicators and FII inflows are favourable given the high valuations, but domestic markets can behave cautious in the short to medium-term," said Vinod Nair, head of research at Geojit Financial Services.

In the broader market, the BSE midcap gauge declined 0.66% and smallcap index dipped 0.34%.

Among sectoral indices, bankex climbed 0.47%, industrials advanced 0.37%, capital goods 0.36%, tech 0.30%, and IT 0.20%. However, metals declined 1.49%, while utilities fell 1.40%.

“Markets moved in a narrow range with bouts of sideways movement in intraday trades, but selective buying in late trades helped key indices to end in positive territory," said Shrikant Chouhan, head of equity research (retail), Kotak Securities Ltd.

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