New Delhi: Equity benchmark indices on Thursday (March 26) ended higher for the third consecutive session with the Sensex closing up 1,410.99 points or 4.94% at 29946.77, while the broader Nifty ended 323.60 points up or 3.89% at 8641.45. Major gainers on the Nifty were IndusInd Bank, L&T, Bajaj Finance, and Bajaj Auto, while top losers were Yes Bank, GAIL, Sun Pharma, and Maruti Suzuki.
About 1483 shares advanced today, 766 shares declined, while 164 stocks remained unchanged, as all the sectoral indices ended in the green.
In the afternoon session today, Sensex was trading over 1,000 points higher after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a stimulus package worth Rs 1.70 lakh crore to cushion the impact of the lockdown in wake of COVID-19 pandemic. The 30-share BSE was up 1,055.11 points or 3.70 per cent at 29,590.89, rallying over 1,500 points in morning session.
The NSE Nifty, however, stood 284.20 points, or 3.42 per cent, higher at 8,602.05 at 1430 hours. IndusInd Bank was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rallying up to 34 per cent, followed by Axis Bank, Bharti Airtel, L&T, Bajaj Finance and HDFC.
On the other hand, Maruti, Reliance Industries, NTPC and Sun Pharma were among the top laggards.
In an effort to cushion the economic blow of the 21-day lockdown to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, FM Sitharaman announced a slew of measures to help the citizens survive the crisis. The Rs 1.70 lakh crore economic package will be implemented with immediate effect.
The impact was also seen on the Indian rupee, which appreciated by 84 paise to 75.10 against the US dollar in intra-day trade after the announcement.
During early hours today, equity benchmark indices ruled higher following reports that the government may soon announce an economic stimulus package to soften the blow of countrywide lockdown amid spreading coronavirus. At 10:15 am, the BSE S&P Sensex was up by 1,175 points or 4.12 per cent to 29,711 while the Nifty 50 edged higher by 327 points or 3.93 per cent to 8,645.
All sectoral indices at the National Stock Exchange were in the positive zone with Nifty IT up by 4 per cent, private bank by 3.8 per cent, realty by 3 per cent and pharma by 2.5 per cent. Among stocks, IndusInd Bank made a dramatic gain of 25 per cent to Rs 376.60 per share while Axis Bank was up by 7.3 per cent. Bajaj Finserv and Bajaj Finance ticked up by 5.3 per cent and 4.7 per cent respectively.
The other prominent winners included Infosys, Tech Mahindra, Bharti Infratel and Titan. However, IndianOil Corporation lost by 1.9 per cent while ONGC, GAIL, Maruti and ITC traded with a negative bias.
Meanwhile, World share markets fell today as nerves over jobs data likely to lay bare the economic carnage from the coronavirus pandemic outweighed a $2 trillion US stimulus package.
The US Senate on Wednesday backed the massive bill aimed at helping jobless workers and industries reeling from the virus, with the package heading for the House of Representatives for vote on Friday.
Europe`s broad Euro STOXX 600 fell 1.6%, with bourses in Frankfurt, London and Paris all down around 2% as a two-day rally faltered. The sour mood was worsened by slumping consumer morale in Germany and data showing stagnant retail sales in Britain last month, even before the virus hit.
It followed a mixed session in Asia, where MSCI`s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.7% but regional performances varied. The Nikkei snapped three days of gains with a 4% drop, while Australia`s benchmark rose for the third day - its longest winning streak in six weeks.
Global markets have lost about a quarter of their value in the last six weeks of virus-driven selling. The sense of unease was also reflected in currency markets.
The dollar lost 0.4% against a basket of six major currencies to 100.50 as its recent rally continued to lose steam. It also slumped 0.8% against the perceived safety of the Japanese yen.
The softer greenback also buoyed emerging market currencies, with MSCI`s index touching a one-week high.
Oil fell as fears of plunging demand outweighed expectations of support from the US stimulus. Brent crude futures fell 3% to $26.55.
(With Agency Inputs)