The benchmark BSE sensex gained nearly 158 points in early trade on Thursday on sustained buying by funds and retailers amid a firming trend on other Asian bourses.

The 30-share barometer, which had gained 247.72 points in the previous session, surged by 157.59 points, or 0.75%, to 21,017.45.

Brokers said sentiments buoyed after the RBI unexpectedly decided to keep key policy rates unchanged amid a firming trend in the Asian region after the US Fed decided to trim stimulus from next month.

Stocks of IT, realty and metal sectors led the rally. On similar lines, the National Stock Exchange index Nifty moved up by 46.60 points, or 0.74%, to 6,263.75.

Among other Asian markets, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose by 1.13%, while Japan's Nikkei gained 1.60% in early trade today. The US Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 1.84 per cent higher in yesterday's trade.

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