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Sensex, Nifty hit day's high; Europe opens higher

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The market extended gains and hit fresh intraday high in afternoon trade amid positive global cues. Global stock markets reacted positively to the US Federal Reserve's open-ended asset purchase program on Monday, as well as other measures to keep the market functioning. The Nifty regained 7900 mark.

At 13:31 IST, the barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, was up 1167.24 points or 4.49% at 27,148.48. The Nifty 50 index rose 313.75 points or 4.12% at 7,924.

The broader market traded mixed. The S&P BSE Mid-Cap index was up 3.27% while the S&P BSE Small-Cap index was up 1.17%.

The market breadth was negative. On the BSE, 911 shares rose and 1175 shares fell. A total of 157 shares were unchanged. In Nifty 50 index, the breadth was positive with 41 stocks advancing and 9 stocks declining.

Media Briefings:

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will hold a press conference at 2 pm today (24 March).

"Even as we are readying an economic package to help us through the Corona lockdown (on priority, to be announced soon) I will address the media at 2 PM today, specifically on statutory and regulatory compliance matters. Via video conference," Finance Minister said in a tweet.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation at 8 pm today. The prime minister tweeted that he will talk on the "vital aspects relating to the menace of COVID-19".

COVID-19 Crisis:

In an effort to stop the spread of Covid-19, complete lockdowns were announced in India's 30 states/Union Territories and a total of 548 districts.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has put the state under curfew to ensure compliance with lockdown restrictions amid the COVID-19 crisis. Essential services such as grocery, milk, medical shops, etc. will remain open. All places of worship will be closed. All forms of public transport will not be operational. Furthermore, all the district borders within the state will be sealed.

Coronavirus has infected more than 381,739 people and killed more than 16,558 across the world.

More than 102,429 people have recovered. India has reported 10 deaths and over 508 cases so far.

Stocks in Spotlight:

Infosys jumped 9.08% to Rs 574.50 after the company said the US Securities & Exchange Commission has concluded its investigation on the whistle blower allegations. As previously disclosed, in connection with the audit committee's investigation into certain whistle blower complaints which concluded in January 2020, Infosys cooperated with an investigation by the United States Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding the same matters.

Infosys said it received a notification from the SEC that it has concluded its investigation and the company does not anticipate any further action by the SEC on this matter. Infosys added that it has also responded to all the inquires received from the Indian regulatory authorities. The IT major said it will continue to cooperate with the authorities should there be any additional requests for information.

Shares of IndusInd Bank were down 0.79% to Rs 333.90. The scrip tumbled 29.99% to hit the day's low at Rs 235.60. The bank announced the appointment of Sumant Kathpalia as the Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer with effect from 24 March 2020, for three years. The bank said Romesh Sobti, shall demit the office of Managing Director & CEO of IndusInd Bank, on 23 March 2020, in line with the tenure approved by RBI. The announced was made after market hours yesterday, 23 March 2020.

Hindustan Unilever surged 7.98% to Rs 2022 after the company announced that it has signed an agreement with Glenmark Pharmaceuticals to acquire its intimate hygiene brand VWash. The deal includes the acquisition of intellectual property rights including trademarks, design and know-how related to the VWash brand. The consideration has been split into two parts involving an upfront cash payment upon closing of the deal and a deferred consideration over the next three years. The transaction is subject to fulfilment of certain conditions, and both parties would be working together to complete this in the next few months. Glenmark will continue to manage the business until the transaction is completed, and will also continue to manufacture for HUL for an agreed period of time.

Global Markets:

European markets opened higher while Asian markets were trading sharply higher after the US Federal Reserve launched unlimited bond buying and other fresh steps and the US Congress appeared closer to a deal on a massive stimulus package to boost the world's largest economy hammered by the coronavirus.

On Monday, the Fed pledged that it will run an open-ended asset purchase program amid the global coronavirus outbreak. Fed said the program will run in the "amounts needed to support smooth market functioning and effective transmission of monetary policy to broader financial conditions and the economy." The pledge is a new chapter in the Fed's "money printin" as it commits to keep expanding its balance sheet as necessary, rather than a commitment to a set amount.

In US, stocks booked sharp losses on Monday as the rapidly rising number of coronavirus cases across the nation overshadowed the Federal Reserve's pledge to buy unlimited bonds and bolster emergency lending facilities to support the flow of credit into the economy.

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

First Published: Tue, March 24 2020. 13:32 IST
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