India markets closed

Market clocks best 3-day rally in years as stimulus calms investor jitters amid lockdown

Mumbai, Mar 26 (PTI) Equity benchmarks surged for the third straight session on Thursday, logging their best three-day gains in years, after the government's much awaited stimulus measures for coronavirus lockdown-hit segments lifted sentiments.

The BSE gauge Sensex surged 1,410.99 points or 4.94 per cent to settle at 29,946.77; while the NSE barometer Nifty shot up 323.60 points or 3.89 per cent to 8,641.45.

After the worst-ever crash on Monday, the Sensex has recovered by 3,965.53 points or 15.26 per cent over the last three sessions. Likewise, the NSE Nifty has regained 1,031.20 points or 13.55 per cent in three days.

On the Sensex chart, IndusInd Bank was the top gainer, rallying up to 46 per cent. Other winners were Bharti Airtel, L&T, Bajaj Finance, Kotak Mahindra, Bajaj Auto, HUL and HDFC -- rising up to 10 per cent.

On the other hand, Maruti Suzuki, Tech Mahindra, Sun Pharma and Reliance Industries closed with losses.

All sectoral indices ended with gains with BSE telecom, capital goods, bankex, finance, realty and FMCG indices surging up to 10 per cent.

The broader markets also gained momentum with the Nifty Midcap and Smallcap indices rising 3 per cent each.

In an effort to cushion the economic blow of the 21-day lockdown in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Finance Minister Sitharaman announced a slew of measures worth Rs 1.70 lakh crore to help citizens survive the crisis.

Paras Bothra, President of Equity Research, Ashika Stock Broking, said, “Domestic markets zoomed for the second day on the trot driven by optimism on USD 2 trillion package to US economy and also in anticipation of an economic package for the Indian economy.

'Finance Minister indeed announced Rs 1,75,000 cr package for the poor and needy, however measures addressed to corporate or SMEs are still missing. Perhaps this will be followed by monetary stimulus by RBI along with forbearance on loan repayments.” The Rs 1.70 lakh crore economic package involves free food grains and cooking gas to poor for the next three months, one-time doles to women and poor senior citizens, higher wages to workers and measures to boost liquidity of employees. The scheme will be implemented with immediate effect.

'This is a package for lockdown impacted segments,” said V K Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services, adding that the government is prioritising.

'Industry-specific measures are likely to be announced in the next package. This can go a long way in implementing the lockdown,” he said.

According to traders, volatility remained during the day as March derivatives contracts expired.

The Indian rupee appreciated 57 paise to 75.37 against the US dollar in intra-day trade.

In a positive news for India’s fiscal health, the crude oil prices continued to trade below USD 30 a barrel amid steep fall in demand due to COVID-19 led lockdowns in major parts of the world.

International oil benchmark, Brent crude futures fell 2.15 per cent to USD 26.80 per barrel.

Meanwhile, bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul ended significantly lower. Benchmarks in Europe were also trading in the red.

The number of COVID-19 cases climbed to 649 in India and the death toll rose to 13, with one death reported each from Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh, according to the Health Ministry. PTI ANS HDA