The markets trimmed intraday gains by the end of the session
Domestic stock markets surged on Friday following four sessions of bruising losses, amid hopes of a stimulus package as Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a financial task force to combat the Covid-19 pandemic’s economic fallout. The S&P BSE Sensex index soared as much as 2,129.97 points to touch 30,418.20 during the session, and the broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark – which started the day at 8,284.45 – climbed to as high as 8,883.00, up 619.55 points from the previous close.
The markets trimmed intraday gains by the end of the session; the Sensex ended with a gain of 1,627.73 points – or 5.75 per cent – at 29,915.96 and the Nifty settled at 8,745.45, up 482 points – or 5.83 per cent – from the previous close.
A total of 48 of the 50 Nifty index stocks and all Nifty sectoral indices ended in the green, with the FMCG, IT and metal indices being the top gainers.
In the FMCG space, Hindustan Unilever soared 12 per cent and ITC zoomed 9 per cent. Colgate Palmolive, Nestle India and Dabur also gained around 7 per cent each. In the information technology space, TCS, Infosys and Wipro added around 7 per cent each. The metal space saw the likes of Tata Steel, Jindal Steel and Vedanta spurting by 8-13 per cent each.
On the other hand, HDFC Bank, IndusInd Bank and Axis Bank continued their poor recent run with losses of around 1 per cent each.
Analysts say investors the world over are weighing the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic against the policy measures being announced to fight its impact on business.
“We’ve already seen a sharp fall, and this is an intermittent bounce back due to value-buying and some short-covering,” said Siddhartha Khemka, head of retail research at Motilal Oswal Securities. “It is difficult to say if markets will sustain this momentum.”
“The announcements by global central banks and stimulus measures are helping. Some short-covering is also happening,” said Mayuresh Joshi, head of equity research at William O’Neil & Co in India. “But overall, how the pandemic will be contained still remains a cause of concern,” he added.
Stock markets worldwide rebounded from some of their recent huge losses on Friday, pulling further away from three-year lows as central banks and governments pledged masses of cash to reduce the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Shares soared at the start of trading in Europe, with the pan-European STOXX 600 index jumping nearly 5 per cent. Britain’s FTSE rose 4 per cent, Germany’s DAX gained 6 per cent, and France’s CAC 40 gained 5.86 per cent. Spanish stocks were up 3.8 per cent and Italian stocks gained 3 per cent.
MSCI’s All-Country World Index – which tracks stocks across 49 countries – was last seen trading 1.5 per cent. But in an indication of the deep damage inflicted on global equities from the pandemic so far, the index remains set to finish nearly 9 per cent lower this week, on top of the fall of 11.1 per cent the previous week.
US S&P 500 e-mini stock futures also pointed to a brighter end to the week, adding 3.5 per cent.
In the past four sessions, the Sensex and Nifty had shed 17 per cent each.
Addressing the nation on Thursday on the fast-spreading coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that a COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force will be set up under the leadership of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to deal with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Modi also announced a “janata curfew” between 7 am and 9 pm on Sunday to minimize the possibility of crowding and ensure promote social distancing, which is currently the most effective antidote to COVID-19. In a related development, the union health ministry has announced that financial institutions and stock markets will remain open.
India continues to reel under the coronavirus tragedy, with the total number of coronavirus cases in the country crossing 200. A total of 35 new cases, the highest number in a single day, have been reported across the country in the past 24 hours.
Italy has surpassed China in terms of the number of deaths caused by the coronavirus. The European country’s death count has climbed to 3,405, as against China’s mortality count of 3,248 as the marauding march of the deadly contagion shows no signs of abating just yet.
A total of 182 countries and territories around the world have reported a whopping 246,107 confirmed COVID-19 cases till date.
Meanwhile, traders’ body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said traders across India will keep their establishments shut on Sunday in response to the Prime Minister’s call for a self-imposed public curfew.