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Sensex scales 42,000-mark for first time, Nifty hits record peak in opening session; Sun Pharma top gainer at 1.30%

FP Staff

The Sensex on Thursday scaled the 42,000 mark for the first time-ever and Nifty hit its record peak in opening session tracking positive cues from global equities after the US and China signed an initial trade deal.

After hitting a record peak of 42,009.94, the 30-share BSE index was trading 127.65 points or 0.30 percent higher at 42,000.38. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty scaled a lifetime intra-day high of 12,377.80. It was trading 28.45 points or 0.23 percent higher at 12,371.75. In the previous session, Sensex ended 79.90 points, or 0.19 percent, down at 41,872.73; while the Nifty fell 19 points, or 0.15 percent, to 12,343.30. Sun Pharma was the top gainer, rising 1.30 percent, followed by Nestle India, HUL, Kotak Bank, UltraTech Cement, Bajaj Auto and Bharti Airtel.

On the other hand, IndusInd Bank, Tata Steel, NTPC, Titan, Mahindra and Mahindra, Tech Mahindra, ONGC and Asian Paints were trading in the red.

On a net basis, foreign institutional investors bought equities worth Rs 279.53 crore, while domestic institutional investors sold shares worth Rs 648.34 crore on Wednesday, data available with stock exchanges showed, according to a PTI report.

According to traders, global stocks rallied as investors heaved a sigh of relief after the US and China on Wednesday signed the first phase of a trade deal, concluding more than a year of tough negotiations between the two largest economies of the world.

The deal includes Intellection Property Protection and Enforcement, ending forced technology transfer, dramatic expansion of American agriculture, removing barriers to American financial services, ending currency manipulation, rebalancing the US-China trade relationship and effective dispute resolution.

Rupee rises 7 paise to 70.75 against dollar

The rupee appreciated by 7 paise to 70.75 against the US dollar in early trade on Thursday as sign of easing tensions between the US and China strengthened investor sentiments.

The United States on Wednesday signed the first phase of a trade deal with China, which President Donald Trump described as historic, concluding more than a year of tough negotiations between the two largest economies of the world, PTI said.

The first phase of the trade deal includes Intellection Property (IP) Protection and Enforcement, ending forced technology transfer, dramatic expansion of American agriculture, removing barriers to American financial services, ending currency manipulation, rebalancing the US-China trade relationship and effective dispute resolution.

The agreement was signed by President Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, Politburo Member and Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China.

At the interbank foreign exchange the rupee opened at 70.80 against the US dollar, then gained further ground and touched a high of 70.75 against the American currency, registering a rise of 7 paise over its previous close.

On Wednesday, rupee had settled for the day at 70.82 against the US dollar.

Traders said the appreciation in the rupee was largely on the back of positive global cues.

Meanwhile, domestic bourses opened on a strong note on Thursday with benchmark indices Sensex trading 155.38 points higher at 42,028.11 and Nifty 35.25 points at 12,378.55.

The dollar index, which gauges the greenback's strength against a basket of six currencies, fell by 0.02 percent to 97.20.

World stocks pause at record peak as markets assess US-China deal

World stocks inched ahead to a record high on Thursday after the United States and China signed an initial deal to defuse their 18-month trade war, though financial markets were wary as a number of thorny issues remained unresolved, according to a Reuters report.

MSCI's broadest index of world stocks firmed 0.04 percent in early trade after closing at record level on Wednesday while its index on Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.21 percent.

Japan's Nikkei rose 0.14 percent while mainland China's Shanghai composite index was almost flat.

US President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Wednesday signed a deal that will roll back some tariffs and see China boost purchases of US goods and services by $200 billion over two years.

"Whether somebody looks at this as big progress or little progress, it is something tangible and so the arrow is pointing in a direction that the market is comfortable with," said Chuck Carlson, chief executive officer of Horizon Investment Services at Hammond, Indiana in the United States.

The Phase 1 deal, however, does not fully eliminate the tariffs while the $200 billion purchase targets, which include energy, farm and manufacturing products, look daunting to achieve.

Nor does it address structural economic issues that led to the trade conflict. Officials say these will be dealt in Phase 2 negotiations, though the differences there are so fundamental that many investors doubt any deal will come through.

"While markets seemed to take this deal as a risk-on signal, we should all be aware that headlines about trade, particularly U.S. China trade, are going to be a constant feature of 2020," said Hannah Anderson, Global Markets Strategist, JP Morgan Asset Management in Hong Kong.

"Highly sensitive issues like the US's export ban to several Chinese companies, increased scrutiny on Chinese investments abroad, and China's application of its commitment to treat foreign and domestic business alike within China are likely to make headlines throughout the year," she said.

On the Wall Street, the S&P 500 closed at a record high of 3,289.3 points, up 0.19 percent, with gains fairly small after the market has rallied for months on hopes of a deal.

The index was dragged down by fall in financial shares following lacklustre earnings from Bank of America and Goldman Sachs.

"While the trade deal has provided relief, there wasn't any positive surprises for markets. For shares to rise further, we need more evidences of improvement in the real economy and earnings," said Hirokazu Kabeya, chief global strategist at Daiwa Securities.

Disinflation everywhere

Bond yields dropped as a boost from the trade deal failed to offset pressure from low U.S. producer price inflation data, which highlighted persistently low inflationary pressure.

The price index rose less than expected in December to cap 2019 with rise of 1.3 percent, lowest since 2015.

The 10-year US Treasuries yield slipped to one-week low of 1.780 percent compared with a high of 1.900 percent last Thursday and last stood at 1.793 percent.

Weak inflation was evident also in UK where consumer price inflation slowed to 1.3 percent, its slowest rate in three years.

The data fanned bets the Bank of England will cut interest rates at the end of this month, pushing the 10-year gilts yield to 2 1/2-month low of 0.630 percent.

The British pound last traded at $1.3040, having managed to recover a tad from its three-week low touched earlier this week.

The Swiss franc held firm, having risen to its strongest against the dollar in over a year and its highest against the euro in almost three years after the United States added Switzerland to its watchlist of currency manipulators.

Washington's decision led traders to think it will become difficult for the Swiss National Bank to intervene to weaken the franc in the future.

The Swiss currency last stood at 0.9643 franc per dollar, near Wednesday's high of 0.9631.

In contrast, the Chinese yuan hovered just below its 5-1/2-month high touched earlier this week after Washington dropped its currency manipulator label on China.

Coupled with the trade deal, warmer ties between the two countries are seen as positive for the Chinese economy and its currency.

The offshore yuan stood at 6.8851 to the dollar, near Tuesday's high of 6.8662.

Other currencies have mostly a muted reaction to the trade deal.

Against the yen the dollar traded at 109.93 yen, below its near eight-month peak of 110.22 set on Tuesday.

The euro stood at $1.1152, extending its recovery from a low of $1.10855 hit last Friday.

Oil prices edged back after touching a six-week trough the previous day on data showing big increases in US refined products.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude gained 0.48 percent to $58.09 per barrel. It had fallen to as low as $57.36 on Wednesday.

--With inputs from agencies

Also See: Sensex drops 142 points, Nifty slips 38 points amid fears of conflict in Middle East, after US kills top Iranian general

Sensex, Nifty close at fresh lifetime highs on positive global cues; Infosys rallies 5%, IndusInd Bank among top gainers

Sensex recovers after plunging over 350 points in opening trade on US-Iran conflict; Nifty below 12,000-mark; Titan, L&T among top losers

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