Domestic stock markets rose in a volatile session on Friday, extending gains to a third straight session ahead of the release of official gross domestic product (GDP) data for the January-March period. The S&P BSE Sensex index stayed in the negative territory for most part of the day, falling as much as 376.79 points to 31,823.80, before recovering in late afternoon deals. The broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark fluctuated between gains and losses, moving within a range of 9,376.90-9,598.85 as against its previous close of 9,490.10. Gains in consumer goods, pharmaceutical and oil & gas stocks countered losses in financial shares.
The Sensex ended 223.51 points – or 0.69 per cent – higher at 32,424.10 and the Nifty settled at 9,568.95, up 78.85 points – or 0.83 per cent – compared to its previous close.
Analysts awaited the GDP data due at 5:30 pm for more clarity on the damage caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has pushed the economy into a standstill and forced many businesses to trim workforce impacting a large sum of workers.
According to the median forecast from a poll of economists by news agency Reuters, the country’s GDP grew 2.1 per cent in the March quarter, lower than 4.7 per cent in the previous quarter.
However, the full impact of the lockdown on manufacturing and services will become more apparent in the June quarter, with Goldman Sachs predicting a 45 per cent contraction from a year ago.
“The lockdown and the government’s views on its extension, or further relaxation will have more bearing on the minds of investors,” said Siddhartha Khemka, head of retail research at Motilal Oswal Financial. “The only concern for markets is on the demand side. Will there be a demand recovery.”
The government has been gradually easing lockdown restrictions, and is expected to announce further guidelines in the coming days.
Equities elsewhere in Asia traded on a mixed note amid rising US-China tensions. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.40 per cent.
While Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng benchmarks moved 0.18 per cent and 0.74 per cent lower respectively, China’s Shanghai Composite climbed up 0.22 per cent and South Korea’s KOSPI 0.05 per cent.
The E-Mini S&P 500 futures were down 0.20 per cent, indicating a negative start for Wall Street on Friday. Overnight in the US, the S&P 500 benchmark index closed 0.21 per cent lower, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.58 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.46 per cent.
European shares started the day on a negative note, with the United Kingdom’s FTSE benchmark last seen trading down 0.91 per cent in early trade. France’s CAC and Germany’s DAX indices were down 0.68 per cent and 1.05 per cent respectively at the time.