Short covering, coupled with lower-level value buying, lifted the Indian equity markets on Thursday. The key indices traded in the positive territory during the late-afternoon session, as healthy buying was witnessed in metal, banking and capital goods stocks. The wider 51-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) gained 29.50 points, or 0.36 per cent, at 8,209.45 points. The barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 26,694.28 points, traded at 26,832.03 points (at 2.45 p.m.) -- up 118.10 points, or 0.44 per cent, from the previous close at 26,713.93 points. The Sensex during the intra-day trade so far touched a high of 26,833.81 points and a low of 26,641.02 points. In contrast, the BSE market breadth was tilted in favour of the bears -- with 1,328 declines and 1,195 advances. The key indices on Wednesday had closed flat -- marginally in the green -- led by healthy macro-economic data. The barometer index had edged up by 45.97 points or 0.17 per cent, while the NSE Nifty had risen by 19.85 points or 0.24 per cent. Initially on Thursday, the key indices opened on a weak note, in sync with their Asian peers and a lower close of the US stock on Wednesday. Asian stocks receded as investors were disappointed at the lack of further stimulus measures in Japan. Further, lower crude oil prices ahead of the OPEC (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) meet later Thursday dented key indices. Besides, the European stocks traded lower as caution prevailed ahead of the upcoming ECB (European Central Bank) meet, also later Thursday. In addition, a week rupee depressed the equity markets. However, a late afternoon bout of short covering triggered by lower-level value buying supported prices. The recently released healthy domestic macro-economic data also aided the equity markets to pare some of their earlier losses.