MUMBAI: The last trading day of the year ended on a promising note as the Sensex bounced by about 158 points to 26,117.54 at the close, led by realty and IT stocks.
But the frontline index was down over 5 per cent from a year ago -- its first annual fall since 2011.
Covering-up of short positions following expiry of December futures and options series made investors more sure-footed, brokers said.
The carry-forward of positions to the January series and widening of bets at several blue-chips by investors amid hopes of better returns in the new year accelerated the gains.
After a higher start at 25,980.86, the 30-share index settled higher by 157.51 points, or 0.61 per cent, at 26,117.54.
The broad-based NSE Nifty rose 50.10 points, or 0.63 per cent, to end at 7,946.35, after shuttling between 7,955.55 and 7,891.15.
The Sensex has lost 1,381.88 points, or 5.02 per cent, in 2015, after gaining nearly 30 per cent in the previous year. The index had last recorded a yearly loss in 2011 when it fell 24 per cent.
The index, which settled 2015 at 26,117.54, is also sharply down from its life-time high of 30,024.74 it scaled on March 4 this year on a rate cut boost from RBI.
The net FPI inflows this year have slackened to just about USD 3 billion, as against an average of USD 20 billion in each of the last three years.
HDFC took the lead, up 2.39 per cent, followed by GAIL (2.18 per cent), Coal India (2.06 per cent) and Bharti Airtel (2 per cent).
HDFC Bank, RIL, Maruti Suzuki, TCS, M&M, Tata Steel and ITC too chalked up gains.
Axis Bank, Hero MotoCorp, L&T, ICICI Bank, SBI, Dr Reddy's Tata Motors and Cipla fell though.
The Nifty has dropped 336.35 points, or 4.06 per cent -- also its first on-year drop since 2011. The 50-share index had climbed to its life-time high of 9,119.20 on March 4 and plunged to hit year's low of 7,539.50 on September 8.
For the whole of 2015, the rupee, at 66.18 (intra-day), lost ground against the dollar as it weakened almost 5 per cent.
Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) net bought shares worth Rs 152.20 crore yesterday, provisional data showed.
Sectorally, the BSE realty index today gained 1.52 per cent, followed by technology (1.18 per cent), IT (1.09 per cent), metal (0.81 per cent), oil and gas (0.73 per cent) and power (0.72 per cent).
Broader markets too displayed a firm trend, with the BSE small-cap index gaining 0.49 per cent and mid-cap index 0.35 per cent.
Globally, the trend in Asia was mixed and that of Europe was down in early trade.