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Benchmarks trade near day's high; Europe opens lower

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The market traded near the day's high in afternoon trade. At 13:29 IST, the barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, jumped 941.25 points or 3.30% at 29,477.03. The Nifty 50 index was up 297.10 points or 3.57% at 8,614.95.

The Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is addressing the media in Delhi. This is the second media briefing by the finance minister within a week.

FM said that a package is ready for the poor who need immediate help like migrant workers and urban and rural poor. The package is worth Rs 1.7 lakh crore.

FM announced Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Ann Yojna (for next 3 months) in which 80 crore poor people (2/3rd of India's population) are covered. In addition to already allotted 5 kg of rice/wheat per person, an additional 5 kg will be allotted free. Additional 1 kg pulse (acc to regional preference) will be given, announced FM.

FM said 8.69 crore farmers will be immediately benefited through direct cash transfers. Installment of Rs 2,000 in the first week of April will be transferred, FM added.

For old age, divyang, pensioners (3 crore people covered), one-time amount of additional Rs 1000 in two installments through direct bank transfer (DBT) (hence no middlemen) over 3 months will be given.

FM announced an increase of Rs 2000 per worker on average as additional income in MGNREGA (5 crore families benefited).

FM also announced a Rs 50 lakh insurance per healthcare worker as a medical insurance cover for them for three months.

The broader market was trading firm. The S&P BSE Mid-Cap index was up 3.67% while the S&P BSE Small-Cap index was up 4.25%.

Buyers outpaced sellers. On the BSE, 1509 shares rose and 608 shares fell. A total of 156 shares were unchanged.

In Nifty 50 index, 36 stocks advanced while 14 stocks declined.

Trading was volatile as traders roll over positions in the F&O segment from the near month March series to April series. The March 2020 F&O contracts expire today, 26 March 2020.

Stocks in Spotlight:

IndusInd Bank (up 36.03%), Axis Bank (up 11.32%), UPL (up 9.41%), HDFC (up 7.21%) and Bharti Airtel (up 6.83%) were the top gainers.

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (down 3.29%), GAIL (India) (down 3.18%), Maruti Suzuki India (down 3.05%), Reliance Industries (down 2.39%) and Coal India (down 2.21%) were the top losers.

Cipla rose 3.02% to Rs 387.80 after the company said it received US drug regulator's final approval for generic version of AstraZeneca Pharmaceutical's Nexium. Nexium is a proton pump inhibitor indicated for treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), reducing risk of NSAID-associated gastric ulcer, eradication of helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria to reduce the risk of duodenal ulcer recurrence and for pathological hypersecretory conditions, including Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.

Shares of JSW Steel were trading 2.11% lower at Rs 148.60. The company announced after trading hours yesterday, 25 March 2020, that the manufacturing operations in all the locations have been either scaled down or suspended (in certain locations). Consequently, the capacity utilisation is expected to go down significantly during this period of lockdown. The decision to scale down/suspend production is done to support the cause of containment of the pandemic COVID-19, notwithstanding the exception to manufacturing units with continuous operation and the units producing essential commodities (steel is classified as an essential commodity under the Essential Services Maintenance Act, 1981 (ESMA)), the exchange filing added.

NTPC fell 2.02% to Rs 77.60. The company informed that second Unit of 660 MW of Khargone Super Thermal Power Project has been added to Installed Capacity of NTPC on successful completion of trial operation. With this, the total installed capacity of Khargone Super Thermal Power Project, NTPC and NTPC group has become 1320 MW, 50355 MW and 58816 MW respectively.

Global Markets:

European markets opened lower while most Asian markets were trading in the red on Thursday as investors awaited the passage and details of a $2 trillion stimulus package in the United States to combat the economic fallout from the coronavirus.

Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry said Thursday that the Singapore economy is now expected to shrink by between 1.0% and 4.0% this year. Official preliminary data showed Singapore's economy contracting 2.2% in the first quarter from a year ago.

Global market sentiment has declined ahead of the latest US jobless claims data that's expected to show a massive spike in unemployment claims after businesses stateside closed their doors to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

In Europe, EU leaders will hold a virtual summit to discuss their response to the coronavirus outbreak amid some criticisms of a lack of coordinated response to the crisis. Italy and Spain are the worst-hit countries in Europe, with the death toll in each country surpassing 7,000 and 3,500 respectively. The death toll in the US has now surpassed 1,000.

In US, stocks on Wednesday finished well off their highs and the Nasdaq turned negative in the final minutes of trade, as the passage of a $2 trillion economic rescue package appeared to hit a snag. The Senate unanimously approved the trillion dollar economic relief package late Wednesday and the stimulus bill now heads to the House, which will push to pass it by voice vote Friday morning as most representatives are out of Washington.

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, March 26 2020. 13:30 IST