Sensex halts 4-day bloodbath, zooms 1,627 pts; Nifty tops 8,700

PTI, Mar 20, 2020, 5:33 PM IST

Mumbai: Snapping its four-day losing streak, equity benchmark Sensex rallied over 1,627 points on Friday in line with global stocks as governments across the world took drastic measures to combat the economic blowback of Covid-19.

Domestic sentiment turned positive on hopes of a stimulus package after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a financial task force to help sectors battered by the pandemic, experts said.

After starting on a volatile note and swinging over 2,485 points, the BSE barometer ended 1,627.73 points or 5.75 per cent higher at 29,915.96. It hit a high of 30,418.20 and a low of 27,932.67.

Similarly, the NSE Nifty zoomed 482 points, or 5.83 per cent, to close at 8,745.45.

ONGC was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rallying around 18 per cent, followed by HUL, UltraTech Cement, RIL, TCS, HDFC, ITC and Asian Paints.

Only HDFC Bank and IndusInd Bank settled in the red.

Modi on Thursday announced setting up of a task force under Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman which will take necessary actions “in the near future” after analysing the coronavirus pandemic situation.

Covid-19 cases in India rose to 195 on Friday after 22 fresh cases were reported from various parts of the country, according to the Health Ministry.

Experts were of the view that the Covid-19 task force may come out with concrete proposals very soon.

The huge oil bounty from the crude crash can be used for this, said V K Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services, adding that PM’s appeal is a curtain-raiser for the concrete actions to follow soon.

World over, market sentiments improved as governments stepped up measures to cushion the financial blow of the pandemic, experts said.

Bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul closed up to 7 per cent higher.

Stock exchanges in Europe too rallied up to 5 per cent.

Meanwhile, the rupee appreciated 6 paise to 74.72 against US dollar intra-day.

Global oil benchmark, Brent crude futures rose over 8.18 per cent to USD30.80per barrel.

Globally, the death toll from the virus has risen to almost 10,000 with more than 2,32,000 cases in 158 countries and territories.

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