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Markets end in green as financial stocks, Reliance goes up

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Domestic stock markets soared more than 6 per cent, in a late-afternoon surge, as India began a 21-day countrywide lockdown to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic and on expectations that the government would unveil a stimulus package soon to cushion the economy from the economic fall-out of coronavirus.

The Sensex ended 1,861.75 points or 6.98 per cent higher at 28,535.78, and the Nifty settled at 8,317.85, up 516.80 points or 6.6 per cent from the previous close. Buying in Reliance Industries and financial sectors pushed the markets higher, but analysts said high volatility cannot be ruled out in the near term amid the rising number of coronavirus cases.

The S&P BSE Sensex index jumped as much as 2,116.16 points to touch an intra-day high of 28,790.19 in afternoon deals, and the broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark had climbed to a high of 8,376.75, up 575.7 points from the previous close before ending marginally off their highs.

On Tuesday night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown with effect from Wednesday to contain the spread of Covid-19. Coronavirus has already claimed 9 lives and infected more than 562 people across the country.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed a slew of relief measures for taxpayers and businesses on Tuesday evening to aid the fight against the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic. The finance minister also that the government may come up with an economic package to prevent the coronavirus pandemic from causing major harm to the economy,

“Gains in global markets are supportive and expectations of domestic stimulus have now gone up,” said Neeraj Dewan, director at Quantum Securities.

Meanwhile, e-commerce major Flipkart suspended services as the 21-day lockdown came into effect. Amazon India’s pantry service that delivers groceries was also not available in several cities and Alibaba-backed online grocer BigBasket said its services had been impacted by the lockdown.

All the 11 sectoral indices on the National Stock Exchange ended in the green. The Nifty Bank index, comprising stocks of 12 major lenders in the country, was up 8.4 per cent, having risen as much as 9.55 per cent earlier. The financial sector has a weightage of 42 per cent in the Nifty basket of 50 shares.

A total of 39 components in the Nifty basket of shares ended in the green. Index heavyweight Reliance Industries soared by 13.8 per cent to Rs1,074 to top the gainers’ list on the NSE. Banking stocks also attracted frenzied buying, with HDFC Bank, Kotak Bank, HDFC and Axis Bank gaining 9.00 per cent to 12 per cent each. On the other hand, IndusInd Bank, Coal India, IOC, and ITC lost 2-3 per cent each on the NSE.

The domestic market benchmarks had rebounded on Tuesday to gain some ground following their worst day ever on Monday, with the S&P BSE Sensex index ending 692.79 points or 2.67 per cent higher at 26,674.03, and the broader NSE Nifty 50 settling up 190.80 points or 2.51 per cent at 7,801.05.