HUL & bank stocks drive Sensex nearly 600 points higher; Nifty tops 8,900

Domestic equity indices defied global market mood to surge in Wednesday’s early trade even amid indications that a nation-wide lockdown could be extended. Indices opened on a weak note but soon pared losses to edge higher, led by gains in banking, auto and FMCG stocks.

The central government is looking at extending the lockdown beyond April 14 after many state governments and health experts suggested such a course of action on the ground that the Covid-19 threat is still looming large.

At 9.51 am, BSE flagship Sensex was up 585 points or 1.95 per cent to 30,652 while NSE benchmark Nifty added 152 points or 1.73 per cent to 8,944. Broader market indices were faring better than their headline peers as Nifty Smallcap gained 3.06 per cent while Nifty Midcap rose 3.23 per cent. Nifty 500 was up 2.15 per cent.

Among bluechip stocks, some of the stars of yesterday’s show continued their rally. Sun Pharma gained 3.82 per cent to Rs 433.05. HCL Tech and HUL gained nearly 3 per cent each. Tech Mahindra, L&T, Infosys and Tata Steel were among other gainers.

Private banks reversed losses to emerge as top Sensex contributors. Axis Bank jumped 3 per cent while Kotak Bank, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank gained 1 per cent each.

Oil-to-telecom behemoth RIL was among other top gainers.

Globally, Asian stocks stepped back after two sessions of sharp gains as investors tempered their optimism about the coronavirus while death tolls were still mounting across the globe.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan losing 0.7 per cent.

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Japan’s Nikkei went the other way and added 0.4 per cent, while Shanghai blue chips lost 0.6 per cent.

E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 wobbled either side of flat, while EUROSTOXX 50 futures dropped 1.1 per cent.


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