Equity benchmarks Sensex and Nifty ended marginally higher after a volatile session on Friday amid positive cues from global markets. The 30-share BSE Sensex ended 28.35 points or 0.06 per cent higher at 48,832.03. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty rose 36.40 points or 0.25 per cent to 14,617.85. Asian Paints was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rising over 2 per cent, followed by UltraTech Cement, ONGC, Sun Pharma, HCL Tech and Nestle India.
On the other hand, ICICI Bank, Bajaj Finance, L&T, TCS, Infosys and Reliance Industries were among the laggards. A continued surge in second wave of COVID-19 cases in the country, which already crossed 2 lakh daily cases, has certainly posed a risk to sustainability of rebound of earnings momentum, said Binod Modi, Head-Strategy at Reliance Securities. While the government’s strong effort to expedite vaccination progress and absence of complete lockdown in Maharashtra and Delhi offered some comfort to equities, the 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 noted.
“Unlike last year, states seem to be reluctant this time for complete lockdown due to wider ramification on economic activities. “Further, current level of mobility restrictions imposed at different states and government’s focus to improve supply of vaccine in the country should be helpful to contain outbreak in coming weeks and essentially should not lead to large economic damage,” he stated. Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo ended on a positive note.
Stock exchanges in Europe were also trading with gains in mid-session deals. Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.40 per cent higher at USD 67.21 per barrel.
The rupee strengthened by 58 paise to end at 74.35 (provisional) against the US dollar on Friday, supported by positive domestic equities amid improving risk appetite. At the interbank forex market, the local unit opened at 74.76 against the greenback and witnessed an intra-day high of 74.28 and a low of 74.76.
It finally ended at 74.35 against the American currency, registering a rise of 58 paise over its previous closing. On Thursday, the rupee had settled at 74.93 against the American currency. “Indian Rupee gained strength amid weakness in dollar and rise in risk appetite in the domestic markets,” said Saif Mukadam, Research Analyst, Sharekhan by BNP Paribas.
Mukadam further noted that dollar dipped on extended decline in US treasury yields. “US treasury yields fell as US Federal Reserve policy-makers signaled that central bank is not in hurry to reduce its support,” he said. The dollar index, which gauges the greenback’s strength against a basket of six currencies, fell 0.09 per cent to 91.59.
According to Mukadam, further gains for the local unit were prevented on surge in crude oil prices and on concern that rising COVID-19 cases in India and lockdown restriction in some states may hurt economic recovery.