March F&O Expiry: Sensex soars 1,411 points, Nifty settles above 8,600-mark on FM economic package announcement

Share Trading at a firm in Kolkata. (Express photo by Partha Paul)

The topline equity indices on the BSE and the National Stock Exchange (NSE) continued its winning streak for the third consecutive day, settling over 3.5 per cent higher on Thursday following the announcement of the economic package by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and expiry of March-series futures and options (F&O) contracts.

The S&P BSE Sensex settled at 29,946.77, up 1,410.99 points (4.94 per cent), while the Nifty 50 index rose 323.60 points (3.89 per cent) to end at 8,641.45. In the intraday trade, the Sensex climbed as much as 1,564.13 points (5.48 per cent) to briefly reclaim the 30,000-mark at 30,099.91. This apart, the 50-share NSE benchmark had scaled 431.20 points (5.18 per cent) to 8,749.05.

Earlier in the afternoon, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled a Rs 1.70 lakh crore economic package which involved free foodgrain and cooking gas to poor over the next three months, one-time payment to women and poor senior citizens, higher wages to workers and measures to boost the liquidity of employees as it looked to contain the impact of unprecedented nationwide lockdown.

On the Sensex, gains were led by IndusInd Bank, Larsen & Toubro (L&T), Bharti Airtel, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Bajaj Auto. On the other hand, Maruti Suzuki India, Tech Mahindra and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries were the top losers on Thursday. (See heatmap below)

Gainers and losers of the day on the Sensex. (Source: BSE)

All the sectoral indices on NSE settled in the green territory. The Nifty Bank index, the key sectoral index on the exchange, settled over 6 per cent higher on Thursday led by gains in IndusInd Bank, Bandhan Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank. This apart, the Nifty FMCG index, another key gainer, ended nearly 5 per cent higher led by Marico, ITC, Godrej Consumer Products and Britannia Industries.

Here's how other sectoral indices performed:

Sectoral gainers of the day on the National Stock Exchange. (Source: NSE)

In the broader market, the S&P BSE MidCap index climbed 356.62 points (3.49 per cent) to settle at 10,568.19, led by gains in Shriram Transport Finance, Info Edge (India) and Max Financial Services. The S&P BSE SmallCap index ended at 9,470.45, up 340.87 points (3.73 per cent) led by Trent and Astral Poly Technik.

"The key takeaway is that it will provide a solid support to rural & semi-rural economy due to high amount of benefit in term of food, cash in hand and job safety. Regarding the market it will provide safety to Defensive stocks like the staple industries but does not provide any relief to corporates like Banks, Hospitality and Others. It seems that the majority of the benefits announced is factored in the market given more than 15% bounce from the recent low. The recovery of the market will continue if strict lockdown system is implemented in the developed markets and number of new virus cases reduces," Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services, said in a post-market statement.

Rupee

The rupee traded on a firm note on Thursday, having risen to 75.16 against the US dollar during the intraday trade. The domestic unit was seen hovering near 75.25 levels during the late afternoon session of trade. It had settled at 76.10 against the greenback on Tuesday, according to Bloomberg data.

The financial market was closed on Wednesday on account of Gudi Padwa.

Global market

World share markets fell on Thursday as nerves over jobs data likely to lay bare the economic carnage from the coronavirus pandemic outweighed a $2 trillion US stimulus package. The US Senate on Wednesday backed the massive bill aimed at helping jobless workers and industries reeling from the virus, with the package heading for the House of Representatives for vote on Friday.

Yet already questions flew over whether the bill would do enough to soften the disease's economic hammer blow, with investors bracing for jobs data forecast to show a huge spike in unemployment in the world's biggest economy.

Europe's broad Euro STOXX 600 fell 1.6 per cent, with bourses in Frankfurt, London and Paris all down around 2 per cent as a two-day rally faltered. The sour mood was worsened by slumping consumer morale in Germany and data showing stagnant retail sales in Britain last month, even before the virus hit.

It followed a mixed session in Asia, where MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.7 per cent but regional performances varied.The Nikkei snapped three days of gains with a 4 per cent drop, while Australia's benchmark rose for a third day - its longest winning streak in six weeks.

Global markets have lost about a quarter of their value in the last six weeks of virus-driven selling. And while investors have found a measure of support as
governments and central banks launch unprecedented support measures, investors were struggling to work out how bad the coronavirus impact would be.

- With global market input from Reuters