Live Market Updates: Major benchmarks posted steady gains in early midday trading on the back of buying interest in banking and IT stocks. Benchmarks rose for the fifth day in a row amid unpredictable new flows from overseas markets. This week, the focus will be on the US Federal Reserve meeting on March 15-16, other than the war in Ukraine.

The BSE Sensex gained around 650 points and the NSE Nifty was up around 160 points. Meanwhile, in neighboring Asian markets, Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite fell 3.8% and 1.8%, respectively, following new Covid-19-related restrictions in China.

Among Sensex 30 stocks, Infosys jumped nearly 3%. HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and SBI rose 2-2.5% each. Wipro, Axis Bank and HCL Technologies were the other main winners. On the other hand, Hindustan Unilever, Tata Steel and Bajaj Finance were the main losers.

The broader markets underperformed the benchmark BSE 30 index. The BSE Midcap index slipped 0.6%, while the Smallcap was flat. The overall magnitude was slightly positive, with around 1,730 stocks up versus 1,600 stocks down on BSE so far.

Among the sectors, the BSE Bankex index and the IT index climbed 1.5% each. Considering that the real estate index slipped by nearly 2%; The metals and oil and gas indices fell more than one percent each.