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Markets open flat: Sensex, Nifty subdued as economic package fails to enthuse; Rupee high in early trade

FP Staff

The benchmark indices ticked lower on Friday, led by a slide in banking and automotive stocks, amid a lack of enthusiasm for the government's measures to support an economy battered by the coronavirus outbreak.

Sensex dropped over 200 points in opening session on Friday tracking losses in index heavyweights HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Reliance Industries amid weak domestic investor sentiment.

After touching a low of 30,909.36, the 30-share index was trading 127.19 points or 0.41 percent lower at 30,995.70. Similarly, NSE Nifty slipped 34.45 points, or 0.38 percent, to 9,108.30. M&M was the top laggard in the Sensex pack, cracking over 3 percent, followed by Maruti, HCL Tech, Hero MotoCorp, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, ITC and HDFC Bank.

On the other hand, ONGC, Tata Steel, Bharti Airtel, Titan and HDFC were trading with gains. In the previous session, the BSE barometer settled 885.72 points or 2.77 percent lower at 31,122.89, while the broader Nifty tanked 240.80 points, or 2.57 percent, to close at 9,142.75. ' According to market experts, investors fear that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman''s recent announcements on the Rs 20-lakh-crore economic package may not boost demand immediately, and hence economic revival would not take place any time soon.

The rupee opened high.

Foreign portfolio investors offloaded equities worth Rs 2,152.52 crore in the capital market on Thursday, provisional exchange data showed.

Besides, uncertainty over the effectiveness of the fiscal stimulus package, the spike in COVID-19 cases in the country weighed on investor sentiment, experts noted.

Sitharaman on Thursday announced a Rs 3.16-lakh-crore package comprising free foodgrains for migrant workers, Rs 2-lakh-crore concessional credit to farmers and working capital for street vendors in a bid to help those hit hard by the nationwide lockdown.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 cases in India climbed to 81,970, while the death toll rose to 2,649, according to the health ministry.

Globally, the number of cases linked to the disease has crossed 44.43 lakh and the death toll has topped 3.02 lakh.

Bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul were trading marginally higher.

On Wall Street, stock exchanges settled on a positive note in overnight trade.

International oil benchmark Brent crude futures were trading 1.47 per cent higher at USD 31.59 per barrel.

Also See: Markets end in red: Sensex plummets 2,002 points, Nifty suffers heavy loss of over 560 points; ICICI Bank top loser

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