Mumbai, Aug 21 (PTI) The rupee settled 18 paise higher at 74.84 (provisional) against the US dollar on Friday as heavy buying in domestic equities strengthened investor sentiments.

At the interbank forex market, the domestic unit closed at 74.84, registering a gain of 18 paise over its previous close of 75.02 against the greenback.

During the session, the local unit witnessed an intra-day high of 74.84 and a low of 74.96 against the US dollar.

Forex traders said positive trend in the equity markets and easing crude oil prices supported the rupee.

The dollar index, which gauges the greenback's strength against a basket of six currencies, rose 0.17 per cent to 92.95.

On the domestic equity market front, the 30-share BSE benchmark Sensex was trading 296.79 points higher at 38,517.18, and the broader NSE Nifty advanced 85.65 points to 11,397.85.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers in the capital market as they offloaded shares worth Rs 268.46 crore on Thursday, according to exchange data.

Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, fell 0.29 per cent to USD 44.77 per barrel.