Mumbai: Optimism ahead of the release of key corporate earnings drove the Indian equity indices higher during the mid-afternoon trade session on Thursday.

According to market observers, the IT index gained the most among the sectoral indices, followed by healthcare and Teck indices. The wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) scaled a new intra-day high of 10,664.60 points.

Around 1 p.m., the Nifty50 traded higher by 21.40 points or 0.20 per cent at 10,653.60 points.

The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 34,471.48 points, traded at 34,520.70 points -- up 87.63 points or 0.25 per cent -- from its previous session's close.

The Sensex has touched a high of 34,555.30 points and a low of 34,400.61 points during the intra-day trade so far.

The BSE market breadth was bullish as 1,746 stocks advanced as compared to 1,016 declines.

"Equity markets opened flat as investors remained cautious ahead of the release of key corporate earnings later during the day. Tata Consultancy Services is due to post December-quarter results later today, followed by Infosys tomorrow," Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls, told IANS.

On Wednesday, the key indices slipped from record highs to close in the red on the back of negative global cues and heavy selling pressure in consumer durables, auto and banking stocks.

The Nifty50 edged lower by 4.80 points or 0.05 per cent to close at 10,632.20 points, while the Sensex closed at 34,433.07 points -- down 10.12 points or 0.03 per cent.

The Sensex touched a fresh high of 34,565.63 points on an intra-day basis