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Sensex rallies 641 points, Nifty ends above 14,700; HUL, ITC climb

·7-min read

Key benchmark indices ended near the day's high with strong gains on Friday. Value buying emerged after the Sensex and the Nifty corrected a little over 4% each in the past five sessions. The Nifty managed to close near 14,750 level after hitting the day's low of 14,350.10 in early trade.

The barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, gained 641.72 points or 1.30% to 49,858.97. The Nifty 50 index gained 186.15 points or 1.28% at 14,744.

Hindustan Unilever (up 4.44%), Reliance Industries (up 3.6%), ITC (up 2.62%) and ICICI Bank (up 1.41%) boosted the indices.

The broader market ended with gains. The S&P BSE Mid-Cap index added 1.35% while the S&P BSE Small-Cap index added 0.41%.

The market breadth was almost even. On the BSE, 1423 shares rose and 1522 shares fell. A total of 191 shares were unchanged.

COVID-19 Update:

On 18 March, Mumbai recorded 2,877 new cases and 8 deaths. The BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) has said that it will make the Rapid Antigen Test facility to take samples for coronavirus testing compulsory for all malls in Mumbai.

India reported 2,71,282 active cases of COVID-19 infection and 1,59,370 deaths while 1,10,83,679 patients have been discharged, according to the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.

Total COVID-19 confirmed cases worldwide stood at 12,18,04,270 with 26,91,300 deaths.

Numbers to Track:

In the commodities market, Brent crude for May 2021 settlement rose 91 cents to $ 64.19 a barrel. The contract lost nearly 7% to settle at $ 63.28 a barrel in the previous session.

The yield on India's 10-year benchmark federal paper fell to 6.194% as compared to its previous close of 6.202%.

In the foreign exchange market, the partially convertible rupee rose to 72.52, compared with its previous closing of 72.5350.

MCX Gold futures for 5 April 2021 settlement shed 0.09% to Rs 44,912.

The US Dollar index (DXY), which tracks the greenback's value against a basket of currencies, rose 0.06% to 91.92.

Global Markets:

European shares fell across the board while most Asian markets closed on a weaker note on Friday as a spike in global bond yields soured sentiment toward richly priced tech stocks.

France imposed fresh regional lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus amid signs of slowing vaccination in some countries.

Wall Street ended sharply lower on Thursday, with the Nasdaq tumbling over 3%, hit by rising Treasury yields and fresh worries about the coronavirus pandemic in Europe.

Benchmark US Treasury yields hit 14-month peaks on Thursday. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose as high as 1.754%, its highest level since January 2020, leading a worldwide move higher in bond yields. The jump in bond yields came after the Federal Reserve expressed its willingness to allow an overshoot in inflation.

Yields move in the opposite direction to prices. Rising bond yields typically signal confidence about economic recovery and fears about inflation, which can make high growth stocks appear less attractive to investors.

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose last week to 770,000. Thursday's report from the Labor Department showed that jobless claims climbed from 725,000 the week before.

Buzzing Segments:

Shares of Future Group companies tumbled after Delhi High Court upheld the order by Singapore International Arbitration Centre prohibiting its deal with Reliance Retail.

Among the Future Group stocks, Future Retail (down 10%), Future Lifestyle Fashions (down 10%), Future Consumer (down 10%) and Future Enterprises (down 9.21%) declined.

The single judge of the Delhi High Court, justice JR Midha, on Thursday (18 March 2021), held Kishore Biyani and his company Future Retail guilty for violating the 2 February 2021 order, which had directed that status quo be maintained on the Group's Rs 24,713-crore deal with RIL's Reliance Retail.

The bench of Justice JR Midha held that Kishore Biyani-led Future Group wilfully violated Singapore Arbitrator's order and directed it not to take further any action on the deal. The Singapore International Arbitration Centre's (SIAC), on 25 October 2020, had passed an interim order in favour of Amazon, restraining Future Group from proceeding on the deal.

The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the presence of Biyani and others before it on 28 April and has ordered attachment of properties of Biyani and others related to the Future Group. It also imposed Rs 20 lakh cost on Future Group and its directors and ordered that the amount should be deposited in Prime Minister's Relief Fund for providing COVID-19 vaccines to senior citizens of Below Poverty Line (BPL) category. The high court also asked them to show cause as to why they be not detained for three months under civil prison for violating the Singapore arbitrator's order.

In January this year, Amazon had moved the Delhi High Court challenging Future Group-RIL deal. The Delhi HC had upheld the emergency arbitration award from SIAC that was in favour of Amazon's and ordered a status quo. The status quo direction was subsequently stayed by a division bench of the High Court. Amazon's appeal against the stay order on status quo is presently pending before the Supreme Court.

IT stocks were in demand after IT major Accenture Plc reported strong second-quarter results and raised business outlook for fiscal 2021.

Info Edge (India) (up 3.21%), Coforge (up 3.10%), Mphasis (up 2.21%), HCL Technologies (up 1.50%), Infosys (up 0.75%), TCS (up 0.60%), Mindtree (up 0.57%), Larsen & Toubro Infotech (up 0.56%) and Wipro (up 0.18%) advanced.

Stocks to Watch:

Aarti Drugs surged 9.71% to Rs 749.40. The board of the drug maker proposed to buyback upto 6 lakh equity shares of the company (equivalent to 0.64% of the total paid-up equity share capital of the company) at Rs 1000 apiece. The aggregate consideration of the buyback shall not exceed Rs 60 crore. The board of directors has determined the record date for the proposed buyback as 1 April 2021.

Adani Enterprises rose 2.07%. The consortium led by Adani Road Transport, the subsidiary of Adani Enterprises, has received letter of award (LoA) from National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for a toll operate transfer (TOT) road project in Gujarat. The project involves tolling, operation, maintenance and transfer of Palanpur-Radhanpur-Samkhiyali Section of NH-27, the length of which is 53.6 kms. The concession period is 20 years.

Indo Count Industries soared 9.45% after the company announced that its the board of directors has approved expansion of its bed linen capacity by about 20% from its existing annual capacity of 90 million meters by debottlenecking and balancing its facilities.

Zuari Agro Chemicals fell 1.48% after the company said that its NPK-B plant has been shut down due to delay in the arrival of raw materials. NPK stands for "nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium," the three nutrients that compose complete fertilizers.

GAIL (India) rose 2.33%. The PSU company on Thursday announced that it has signed a concession agreement with Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) for setting up Compressed Biogas (CBG) Plant in Ranchi. As per the agreement, GAIL will setup CBG Plant for processing 150 tons per day of Organic Municipal Solid Waste (MSW). The CBG plant will produce 5 tons of CBG per day and approximately 25 tons of fermented bio manure per day.

Strides Pharma Science fell 0.66%. The company said that its biopharmaceutical division, Stelis Biopharma (Stelis), has partnered with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to supply 200 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine. The parties intend to commence supplies from the Q3 of 2021. Stelis will also continue to work with the RDIF to provide additional supply volumes beyond the initial agreement.

Separately, Stelis successfully concluded its Series B and Series C fund raise for a cumulative amount of $195 million. Post money valuation for Stelis will be pegged at about $350 million. Post completion on Series C fund raise, Strides Pharma Science will hold 33% (pre-ESOP) in Stelis with its investment valued at $116 million. Strides will demerge and list its biopharma business under Stelis on a standalone basis enabling significant value unlocking for Strides shareholders.