Domestic stock markets started the last day of the three-day holiday-truncated week on a positive note amid gains in Asian peers. The S&P BSE Sensex index started the session up 677.23 points at 30,571.19 and jumped as much as 1147.92 points to touch a intra-day high of 31041.88 in early-noon trades. The broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark climbed to a high of 9,085.75 after starting the day at 8,973.05. Across-the-board gains, led by financial, automobile and pharmaceutical shares, pushed the markets higher.
At 1:00 pm, the Sensex traded 1,072 points – or 5.59 per cent – higher at 30,978.03, while the Nifty was up 321 points – or 3.6 per cent – at 9,070.95.
Barring three stocks, all of the components in the Nifty 50 basket traded higher. Top percentage gainers were Cipla, Tata Motors,Maruti Suzuki, Bajaj Auto and Sun Pharma, trading between 7.20 per cent and 13.90 per cent higher.
HDFC (up 6.08 per cent), HDFC Bank (3.65 per cent) and ICICI Bank (3.67 per cent) together contributed to a gain of nearly 350 points in the Sensex.
Market breadth was extremely positive, with 1,754 stocks trading higher on the BSE and 438 moving lower.
Cipla (up 13.90 per cent) and Sun Pharma (7.2 per cent) led gains in the pharmaceuticals space.
The Nifty Pharma index – comprising stocks of 10 major drug makers in the country – was up 6.5 per cent at the time.
Analysts say the markets are likely to remain volatile in the short term as investors weigh the emergency measures deployed by policymakers against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
Equities in other Asian markets rose on hopes the COVID-19 pandemic is nearing a peak and that governments would roll out more stimulus measures. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was last seen trading 0.6 per cent higher, tracking overnight gains in the US.
Shares in China, where the novel coronavirus first emerged late last year, rose 0.54 per cent. Australian shares were up 1.52 per cent.
On Wednesday, the S&P 500 index gained 3.41 per cent, helped by hopes the pandemic was nearing its peak. However, US stock futures gave up earlier gains to trade 0.27 per cent lower on Thursday morning.
Japan’s Nikkei stock index bucked the regional trend and fell 0.55 per cent as coronavirus infections in the country rose.
On Wednesday, the S&P BSE Sensex index had ended a volatile session 173.25 points (0.58 per cent) lower at 29,893.96, and the NSE Nifty settled at 8,748.75, down 43.45 points (0.49 per cent) from the previous close.
The markets will remain shut on April 10 for Good Friday. They were also closed on Monday, April 6, for Mahavir Jayanti holiday.