The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex rose 9 per cent, the most since May 2009, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index advanced by a similar amount on signs of waning coronavirus pandemic around the world. This is the best day for the Indian markets since 2009.
The S&P BSE Sensex index rose as much as 2,566.7 points to touch 30,157.65 at the strongest level of the session in late afternoon deals, and the broader NSE Nifty benchmark climbed to as high as 8,819.40, up 735.6 points from the previous close. Gains across sectors – led by banking, IT, auto and pharma shares – pushed the markets higher. The Sensex ended 2,476.26 points – or 8.97 per cent – higher at 30,067.21 and the Nifty settled at 8,785.90, up 702.10 points – or 8.69 per cent – from the previous close.
Equities elsewhere in Asia moved higher, encouraged by the slowing death toll from the virus across major European nations, including France and Italy. Hang Seng, Nikkei, Straits Times, Taiwan and SET indices added between 2 per cent and 6 per cent each in noon trades.
The European indices, including the CAC, FTSE and DAX, added between 2 per cent and 4 per cent each in early trades.
The rupee surged by 49 paise to 75.64 (provisional) against the US dollar on Tuesday, taking cues from positive equity market sentiment, as the forex markets re-opened to new timings post the Mahavir Jayanti holiday on Monday.
Meanwhile, in a reprieve for the market participants, the NSE’s India VIX index – which gauges the expectation of volatility in the near term – corrected 5.8 per cent to 52 levels.
Analysts say volatility cannot be ruled out as investors assess the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on global economy. India entered the fourteenth day of a 21-day countrywide lockdown to curb the spread of the deadly Covid-19 disease.
The Nifty Pharma index – comprising stocks of 10 drug makers in the country – ended with gains of 10.8 per cent to emerge as the top sectoral gainer of the day. The index jumped after the government eased curbs on exports of 24 active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and their formulations. The ban on export of hydroxychloroquine, which is being touted as a remedy for Covid-19 may also be lifted, reports suggest.
The NSE Nifty Bank Index and Nifty Private Bank indices ended with gains of 10.4 per cent and 11 per cent respectively.
Pharma stocks were among the heavyweight gainers on the NSE index, with Dr Reddy’s and Cipla soaring by around 11 per cent each on the NSE. Financials stocks were also among the top index gainers on the NSE, with IndusInd Bank, Axis Bank and ICICI Bank spurting 13 per cent to 25 per cent each. There were no losers among Nifty-50 stocks. The midcap pharma space also witnessed immense buying interest, with Cadila Healthcare, Aurobindo Pharma and Divi’s Lab zooming between 10 per cent and 17 per cent each.
Hindustan Unilever shares ended the session with gains of 13.6 per cent to Rs 2,449 on the NSE after the fast moving consumer goods major became the country’s third most valued company after Reliance Industries and Tata Consultancy Services as its market capitalisation surpassed over Rs 5 lakh crore for the first time.
This is a truncated week; the markets were shut on Monday for Mahavir Jayanti, and will be closed on April 10 for Good Friday, leaving only three trading days this week.