Markets extend gains to 2nd day as banks, financial stocks rally

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Mumbai, Apr 15 (PTI) The Sensex and Nifty closed in the green after a volatile session on Thursday as investors accumulated banking, finance and select IT counters despite an unabated rise in COVID-19 cases.

A recovering rupee and positive global cues also propped up the bourses, traders said.

After gyrating 877 points during the day, the 30-share BSE Sensex ended 259.62 points or 0.53 per cent higher at 48,803.68.

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty advanced 76.65 points or 0.53 per cent to 14,581.45.

TCS topped the Sensex gainers' chart, climbing 3.67 per cent, followed by ONGC, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Dr Reddy’s, HDFC, Axis Bank and HCL Tech.

On the other hand, Infosys was the biggest loser, dropping 2.65 per cent after its March 2021 quarter earnings missed market expectations.

The IT services major had on Wednesday posted a 17.5 per cent rise in net profit to Rs 5,076 crore for the March quarter, and announced up to Rs 9,200 crore buyback offer at a maximum price of Rs 1,750 per share.

IndusInd Bank, Maruti, Nestle India, Bajaj Finance and UltraTech Cement were among the other laggards, shedding up to 2.54 per cent.

'Domestic equities looked to be resilient amid high volatility. Benchmark indices recovered sharply from today’s low mainly led by rebound in financials and pharma indices,' said Binod Modi, Head - Strategy at Reliance Securities.

Auto stocks were worst hit mainly due to wider economic restrictions imposed in Maharashtra, which contributes over 20 per cent of automobiles production of the country, he said, adding Infosys witnessed heavy profit booking after missing the street's estimates in 4Q FY21 earnings.

However, strong buying was seen in other IT majors due to sustained growth prospects, he noted.

'A continued surge in second wave of COVID-19 cases in the country has certainly dented investors’ sentiments. However, the government's strong effort to expedite vaccination progress in the country by allowing multinational vaccines in domestic markets and absence of complete lockdown in Maharashtra offered some comfort to equities.

'However, risk of other states taking steps of wider economic restrictions continues to persist, which may continue to weigh on investors' sentiments in the near term,' he added.

India added a record over 2 lakh new COVID-19 infections in a day pushing the total tally of cases to 1,40,74,564, while the active cases surpassed the 14-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday.

Sector-wise, BSE metal, bankex, power, energy, oil and gas, finance and telecom indices rose as much as 1.48 per cent, while auto, realty and FMCG ended with losses.

Broader BSE midcap and smallcap indices underperformed the benchmark, shedding up to 0.10 per cent.

Global equities hovered near record highs amid upbeat macroeconomic data and benign bond yields.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Seoul and Tokyo closed with gains, while Shanghai and Hong Kong notched up losses.

Stock exchanges in Europe were trading on a positive note in mid-session deals.

Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.63 per cent lower at USD 66.34 per barrel.

The rupee recouped its early losses to close higher by 12 paise at 74.93 against the US dollar. PTI ANS ABM ANS ABM ABM