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Nifty, Sensex close higher, banking stocks shine

A broker laughs while speaking to a colleague, as they trade on their computer terminals at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai, March 4, 2015. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade/Files

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian shares ended firmer on Friday, with banking stocks leading gains, as investors assessed a raft of corporate earnings and awaited the release of the federal budget next week.

The NSE Nifty 50 Index ended 0.56% higher at 12,248.25, while the S&P BSE Sensex closed down 0.55% at 41,613.19.

However, poorly received financial results from a few index heavyweights dragged the Nifty 0.84% lower this week, while analysts also expected markets to remain volatile until the federal budget on Feb. 1, which could include government measures to revive economic growth.

Ultratech Cement Ltd, a Nifty component, gained 2.6% after reporting on Friday an increase in its profit for the quarter ended December.

The Nifty banking index ended 0.77% firmer, with Kotak Mahindra Bank closing 2.3% higher. Private-sector lender Yes Bank was the top gainer in the index with a 4.5% jump. Yes Bank stock, which rose for the third consecutive session, dropped 9% so far this year.

Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips