Mumbai: After trading in the red for most of the session, the market witnessed a smart turnaround late in the day amid fresh buying support as also short-covering that helped the benchmark Nifty to close 18.70 points higher at the National Stock Exchange today.

The market had opened marginally lower following weak global cues as also on account of some profit-taking. The overnight cabinet decision to defer pension reform bill also weighed on the overall sentiment.

The key-index kept losing ground as the session progressed on sustained selling pressure and it drifted below the psychologically important 5,000 mark in the afternoon trade, following sluggish European opening.

However, market got support at lower level and rebounded smartly towards the final hour of trade amid short-covering and some fresh buying. The fmcg, bank, capital goods, infra and metal related counters were particularly in demand.

The Asian and European markets retreated after rallying for four sessions in a row as sentiment got dampened after the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s Congressional speech lacked clarity on further round of quantitative easing measures.

The 50-share Nifty fluctuated between a high of 5,084.45 and a low of 4,994.80 before closing at 5,068.35, a gain of 18.70 points, or 0.37 per cent, over the last close.

Reliance Infra, GAIL, Sterlite Industries, L&T, IDFC, PNB, Kotak Bank, ITC, BHEL and Bharti Artl were the top percentage-wise gainers from the Nifty.

However, Cairn, ONGC, Maruti, PowerGrid, Bajaj Auto, Infosys, TCS, HCL-Tech, ACC and Axis Bank ended with loses.

The turnover in cash segment declined to Rs 9,740.85 crore against Rs 10,686.39 crore yesterday. In all, 6,197.64 lakh shares changed hands in 53,63,212 trades. Market capitalisation stood at Rs 58,02,461 crore.