The rupee appreciated by 12 paise to 69.71 against the US dollar in opening trade Thursday, driven by positive opening in domestic equities and weakening of the greenback in overseas markets.The rupee opened strong at 69.76 at the interbank forex market then gained further ground to touch 69.71 per dollar amid positive opening in domestic equities, displaying gains of 12 paise against the greenback. On Wednesday, the rupee had settled at 69.83 against the US dollar. Forex dealers said, selling of the American currency by exporters supported the rupee. However, rising crude oil prices and foreign fund outflows weighed on the domestic currency. Foreign funds pulled out Rs 304.27 crore in the capital markets on a net basis Wednesday, provisional data showed. The benchmark BSE Sensex was trading with gains of 161.18 points, or 0.41 per cent to quote at 39,663.23 while the NSE Nifty was trading at 11,903.90, up 42.80 points, or 0.36 per cent. Meanwhile, brent crude, the global benchmark, was trading at 69.62 per barrel higher by 0.24 per cent. The dollar index, which gauges the greenback's strength against a basket of six currencies, fell 0.02 per cent to 98.12. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take oath along with a new council of ministers on Thursday for a second term, as suspense mounted on who will get the Big Four berths--Home, Finance, Defence and External Affairs.