Domestic stock markets started Thursday’s session on a positive note amid cautious gains in Asian peers, as investors around the globe awaited details of a $2-trillion stimulus package in the US to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The S&P BSE Sensex index rose as much as 744.6 points to touch 29,280.38 on the upside in the first few minutes of trade, after opening with a gain of 537.93 points at 29,073.71. The broader NSE Nifty 50 climbed to as high as 8,519.15, up 201.3 points from its previous close of 8,317.85. While all the sectors traded in the green, financial, IT and pharma shares led the gains. Analysts expect volatile trade ahead of the expiry of monthly derivatives contracts (futures and options) due by the end of the session.
At 9:29 am, the Sensex traded 537.97 points – or 1.89 per cent – higher at 29,073.75 while the Nifty was up 107.90 points – or 1.30 per cent – at 8,425.75.
Thirty six stocks in the Nifty basket of 50 enjoyed gains at the moment. Top percentage gainers were IndusInd Bank, Axis Bank, Infosys, HDFC and Tech Mahindra – up between 4.82 per cent and 9.99 per cent.
On the other hand, Grasim, Maruti Suzuki, Indian Oil, ONGC and JSW Steel – down between 2.17 per cent and 3.50 per cent – were the top Nifty losers.
HDFC (up 5.32 per cent), Infosys (5.74 per cent) and Axis Bank (9.28 per cent) together accounted for a gain of more than 300 points in the Sensex.
Market breadth was positive, with 696 stocks on the BSE moving higher against 356 trading lower. On the NSE, 904 stocks advanced while 554 declined.
Equities in other Asian markets made a cautious start following two days of rally, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rising 0.3 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei benchmark however declined 2.2 per cent.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index rose 1.5 per cent in early trade – its third positive start in as many sessions, but also its most muted. Hong Kong futures were 1 per cent higher, and China A50 futures up 0.2 per cent.
US stock futures rose 1 per cent, following the first back-to-back session rises on Wall Street in over a month.
Overnight in the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 indices rose 2.4 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively, however the Nasdaq Composite dropped half a per cent following a Nikkei report that Apple was weighing a delay in the launch of its 5G iPhone.
Senate leaders hope to vote on the plan later on Wednesday in Washington, but it still faces criticism. The bill includes a $500-billion fund to help hard-hit industries and a comparable amount for payments up to $3,000 to millions of US families.
It cannot come soon enough, with potentially enormous weekly US initial jobless claims to appear in data due at 1230 GMT (6 pm in India).
On Wednesday, the Sensex surged 1,861.75 points – or 6.98 per cent – to end at 28,535.78, and the Nifty settled at 8,317.85, up 516.80 points – or 6.62 per cent – from the previous close, extending gains to a second straight session.