Domestic stock markets maintained their momentum in afternoon trades amid strength in Asian markets and a firm opening across European peers. The S&P BSE Sensex index gained as much as 7.39 per cent – or 2,037.72 points – to touch an intra-day high of 29,628.67 in afternoon deals, and the broader NSE Nifty benchmark climbed to as high as 8,670.40, up 586.6 points from the previous close. Gains across sectors – led by banking, IT, pharma and auto shares – pushed the markets higher.
At 1:51 pm, the BSE Sensex was at 29,587.84, stronger by 1,996.89 points or 7.24 per cent, and the Nifty was at 8,667.15, up 583.35 points or 7.22 per cent from the previous close.
The Nifty Pharma index – comprising stocks of 10 drug makers in the country – was up 9.84 per cent at the time and was the top sectoral gainer of the day, having risen 10.40 per cent earlier. 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 were up 8.86 per cent and 9.19 per cent at the time respectively.
Equities elsewhere in Asia moved higher in an attempt at another day of gains, 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 had added between 2 per cent and 6 per cent each in noon trades.
The European indices, including the CAC, FTSE and DAX, opened higher between 2 per cent and 4 per cent each.
On Monday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to roll out an unprecedented economic stimulus, equal to 20 per cent of economic output, as his government vowed to take “all steps” to battle deepening fallout from the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, in a reprieve for the market participants, the NSE’s India VIX index – which gauges the expectation of volatility in the near term – was down 5.07 per cent, having fallen 9.69 per cent earlier.
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.
Pharma stocks were also 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 12.5 per cent to 18.1 per cent each. The midcap pharma space also witnessed immense buying interest, with Cadila Healthcare, Aurobindo Pharma and Divi’s Lab zooming between 10 per cent and 14 per cent each.
Bajaj Finance was the only Nifty loser, shedding 2.7 per cent.
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.