Infection tally crosses 2-crore mark but decline in fresh infections continues, helping rupee gain 14 paise
Market bellwether Sensex jumped over 200 points in early trade on Tuesday riding on positive cues from the Covid front and a rally in some of the index majors. India’s total tally of Covid-19 cases crossed the two-crore mark but fresh daily infections reduced to 3,57,229 during the day. The health ministry reported 3,449 fatalities in the last 24 hours.
The 30-share BSE index rose 242.57 points or 0.50 per cent to 48,961.09 in initial deals, while the broader NSE Nifty advanced 78.05 points or 0.53 per cent to 14,712.20. ONGC was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, gaining around 2 per cent, followed by Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, IndusInd Bank, SBI, Bajaj Finance and NTPC. Titan, HUL, Reliance Industries, PowerGrid, Sun Pharma and Infosys were among the laggards.
The Sensex finished 63.84 points or 0.13 per cent lower at 48,718.52, and Nifty closed 3.05 points or 0.02 per cent higher at 14,634.15, at the close on Monday. Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) were net sellers in the capital market, offloading shares worth Rs 2,289.46 crore on Monday, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) purchased shares worth Rs 552.92 crore.
“This bull market, which has been climbing many walls of worries, is likely to remain resilient supported by positive news on the Covid front,” says VK Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services. He noted that the latest data indicates plateauing of the Covid curve and a steady decline in Covid numbers in 13 states, including Maharashtra. After peaking 4.02 lakhs on May 1, the daily figure has been declining steadily.
“This can give further support to the ‘hope trade’ that is currently on, despite the grim health crisis. The fourth-quarter results continue to be good across sectors. The FIIs continue to be on the sell side but this is being neutralised by DII buying. IT, pharma, telecom are safe sectors in the context of the lockdowns during the second wave,” he says.
In the last 15 days, India added over 50 lakh infections, taking the total number of Corona virus cases in the country to 2,02,82,833, while the death toll increased to 2,22,408 with 3,449 new fatalities, according to the Union health ministry.
India’s total Covid-19 infections had surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19. It took 107 days to reach 1.25 crore on April 5 but crossed 1.50 crore in next 15 days. Registering a steady increase, the active cases have increased to 34,47,133, comprising 17 per cent of the total infections, while the national Covid-19 recovery rate was recorded at 81.91 per cent.
The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,66,13,292, while the case fatality rate was recorded at 1.10 per cent, the ministry data shows.
The positive trend boosted the equity market which, in turn, helped the Indian currency to gain 14 paise to 73.81 against the US dollar in opening trade on Tuesday. At the interbank forex market, the local unit opened at 73.83 against the US dollar, then gained some strength to quote at 73.81, reflecting a rise of 14 paise over its last close. The rupee had settled at 73.95 against the greenback on Monday.
The dollar index, which gauges the greenback’s strength against a basket of six currencies, rose 0.20 per cent to 91.12.
Bourses in Hong Kong traded on a positive note in mid-session deals, while Seoul was in the red. Stock exchanges in Shanghai and Tokyo were closed for holidays. Equities on Wall Street ended on a mixed note in overnight trade.
The international oil benchmark Brent crude was trading flat at $67.56 per barrel on Tuesday morning Indian time.