Sensex Steps Out of the Red with 375-Point Gain

Rupee ends at 74.94 against the US dollar; surge in Covid cases curb investor sentiment

Sensex Steps Out of the Red with 375-Point Gain
Sensex Steps Out of the Red with 375-Point Gain
PTI - 22 April 2021

Equity benchmarks darted up on Thursday after two sessions of losses as investors piled into banking and finance stocks even as the deteriorating Covid-19 situation remained a concern.

The benchmarks were propped up by bargain-hunting in select frontline counters as well as supportive global cues, traders said.

After skidding 501 points in the opening session, the 30-share BSE Sensex pared all losses to end 374.87 points or 0.79 per cent higher at 48,080.67.

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty jumped 109.75 points or 0.77 per cent to finish at 14,406.15.

ICICI Bank was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, spurting 3.60 per cent, followed by HDFC, Bajaj Auto, HDFC Bank, SBI, Kotak Bank, Bajaj Finance and Axis Bank.

On the other hand, Titan, HUL, Asian Paints, Nestle India, UltraTech Cement and Tech Mahindra were among the laggards, shedding up to 2.75 per cent.

"A persistent rise in Covid-19 cases across the country and enhanced mobility restrictions imposed by number of states are expected to remain as key drags for the market in the near term. This has certainly started posing as a threat to corporate earnings recovery.

"Notably, possibility of supply disruption and increased Covid-19 cases in hinterland area can further hurt economic momentum. We believe market is expected to remain volatile until we see a reversal in Covid-19 cases," said Binod Modi, Head - Strategy at Reliance Securities.

India registered over 3.14 lakh new coronavirus cases in a day, the highest-ever single-day count recorded in any country, taking the total tally of Covid-19 cases in the country to 1,59,30,965, as per the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday.

The oxygen crisis, precipitated by the second wave which has left tens of thousands hospitalised, appeared to intensify with complaints of shortage from several states.

Sector-wise, BSE bankex, finance, metal, realty and basic materials indices rose up to 2.14 per cent, while consumer durables, FMCG, IT and teck closed lower.

Broader BSE midcap and small-cap indices rose up to 0.59 per cent.

Global markets were largely in the positive territory as investors monitored the vaccination progress and economic recovery in multiple countries, though the unabated rise in Covid-19 cases remained an overhang.

In Asia, bourses in Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo ended on a positive note, while Shanghai was in the red.

Bourses in Europe were trading with gains in mid-session deals.

Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.51 per cent lower at USD 64.99 per barrel.

The rupee weakened further by 6 paise to close at 74.94 (provisional) against the US dollar on Thursday as a persistent rise in Covid-19 cases and enhanced restrictions imposed by a number of states weighed on investor sentiment.

At the interbank forex market, the local unit opened at 75.25 against the greenback and traded in the range of 74.82 to 75.26 during the day.

The rupee finally ended at 74.94 against the American currency, registering a fall of 6 paise over its previous close. On Tuesday, the rupee had settled at 74.88 against the American currency.

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