Domestic equity benchmarks came off early lows and were trading almost flat in morning trade. Metal, auto and realty shares were in demand while banks and financials corrected on profit taking. Rising global coronavirus cases overshadowed the optimism surrounding Covid-19 vaccine developments.
At 10:28 IST, the barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, was up 6 points or 0.01% at 44,186.05. The Nifty 50 index added 11.90 points or 0.09% at 12,950.15.
In the broader market, the S&P BSE Mid-Cap index gained 0.50% while the S&P BSE Small-Cap index rose 0.85%. Both these indices outperformed the Sensex.
The market breadth was positive. On the BSE, 1443 shares rose and 844 shares fell. A total of 116 shares were unchanged.
Total COVID-19 confirmed cases worldwide stood at 56,202,247 with 1,349,339 deaths.
India reported 443,303 active cases of COVID-19 infection and 131,578 deaths while 8,383,602 patients have been discharged, according to the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
Pfizer Inc on Wednesday said that final results from the late-stage trial of its Covid-19 vaccine showed it was 95% effective, adding it had the required two-months of safety data and would apply for emergency US authorization within days.
The drug maker further added that the efficacy of the vaccine, developed with German partner BioNTech SE, was consistent across age and ethnicity demographics, and that there were no major side effects, a sign that the immunization could be employed broadly around the world.
The Nifty Metal index rose 1.74% to 2,820.85. The index has added 6.97% in four sessions while the benchmark Nifty 50 index has gained 1.99% during the same period.
Tata Steel (up 2.96%), National Aluminum Co. (up 2.79%), Hindalco Industries (up 2.35%), Jindal Steel & Power (up 1.49%), Ratnamani Metals Tubes (up 1.47%), Welspun Corp (up 1.01%) and SAIL (up 1%) advanced.
Coal India (down 3.78%), Hindustan Copper (down 1.84%), APL Apollo Tubes (down 1.06%) and MOIL (down 1.04%) declined.
Stocks in Spotlight:
Hero MotoCorp rose 3.36% to Rs 3083.30 after the company said it sold over 14 lakh units of motorcycles and scooters in retail sales during the just concluded festive season, riding on robust customer demand for its range of products.
Despite the severe disruptions on account of the Covid-19 this year, the good retail off-take during the 32-day festival period - spread between the first day of Navratra and the concluding day after Bhai Duj - was 98% of the festive season volumes sold by the company in the previous year (2019) and 103% compared to the same period in 2018, Hero MotoCorp said. This has enabled the two-wheeler major to reduce the vehicle stocks at its dealerships to less than four weeks, the lowest ever post-festive inventory, it addded.
GPT Infraprojects hit an upper circuit of 10% at Rs 32.35 after the company said it bagged a Rs 162.83 crore order from the Office of the Hooghly River Bridge Commissioners (HRBC), Transport Department, Government of West Bengal, Kolkata.
The order is for repair and Rehabilitation of second Hooghly Bridge (Vidyasagar Setu), Kolkata including replacement of stay & holding down cables and bearings etc.
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