Shares of Tata Motors gained as much as 3.2 percent on Thursday and were trading at Rs 474.10 (up 3.09 percent) in response to upbeat export data from 2016. Car exports from the country rose 11-fold to 3,372 cars from 309 units in 2009 and the top-selling models were Discovery Sport, Range Rover Evoque, Jaguar XF, Jaguar XE and the Jaguar F-Pace.
Other top Sensex gainers were GAIL (India), NTPC and Hero Motocorp, leading to the index trading 86 points higher at 29,254 at around 1.52 pm. The NSE Nifty was up 38 points at 9,068.
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Stocks that hit a new 52-week high on Thursday included Bombay Burmah, SpiceJet, Reliance Capital and KEC International.
The rupee opened at 65.40 to the US dollar.
In related news, the growth rate for steel production in India outstripped global output for February 2017. While global output was 4.1 percent, India clocked 8.9 percent, far ahead of China's 4.6 percent, according to the World Steel Association.
Top steel producers in India include Tata Steel, JSW Steel, Steel Authority of India, Maharashtra Seamless, Welspun Corp and Jindal Stainless.