(Reuters) -Indian shares closed higher on Thursday, helped by information technology stocks, as robust U.S. retail sales data underscored the strength in the world's biggest economy and bolstered risk appetite.
The Nifty 50 index closed 0.11% higher at 18.035.85, while the S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.07% to 61,319.51.
Both the benchmarks climbed over 0.6% during the session, before paring gains in the final hour, dragged by a 0.26% decline in heavyweight financials.
U.S. retail sales increased by the most in nearly two years in January, pointing to the economy's continued resilience despite higher borrowing costs.
"The risk-on trade is back in Indian equities after a lull in January," said Sanjiv Bhasin, director of India Infoline.
"The Nifty 50 may see some consolidation from 18,000-18,300 in the near term, but it is definitely headed higher," Bhasin added.
Six of the 13 major sectoral indices were up on Thursday, with the heavyweight information technology stocks rising 1.62%. IT companies get a significant share of their revenues from clients in the United States.
"Plenty of investors are looking to increase allocations to IT now because these stocks will become expensive when the rate hike cycle reaches its fag end," Aishvarya Dadheech, director and fund manager at Ambit Asset Management.
Among individual stocks, ONGC jumped 5.69% and was the top Nifty 50 gainer, as oil producers and refiners advanced after government cut windfall tax on crude oil in its fortnightly revision.
Apollo Hospitals climbed 3.39% after the company's finance chief told Reuters the company is planning to make its pharmacy business profitable by the end of the next financial year.
Nestle India hit a near four-week high after reporting a sharp year-on-year rise in net profit in the December quarter.
The return of foreign buying in domestic equities also aided the sentiment, analysts said.
Over the past four sessions, FIIs have bought a net 45.17 billion rupees ($546.24 million), reversing an extended selling trend earlier in the year.