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Shares bounce back; pharma stocks in demand

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Key equity indices came off the day's low as buying emerged as lower level in mid-morning trade. Indices witnessed a bout of volatility as uncertainty regarding implications of Coronavirus outbreak loomed. The Nifty ascended toward 7800 level. Pharma stocks surged on strong buying support.

At 11:27 IST, the barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, was up 490.28 points or 1.89% at 26,471.52. The Nifty 50 index rose 129.1 points or 1.7% at 7,739.35.

The broader market was mixed. The S&P BSE Mid-Cap index was up 1.13% while the S&P BSE Small-Cap index was down 0.93%.

The market breadth was weak. On the BSE, 655 shares rose and 1204 shares fell. A total of 125 shares were unchanged. In Nifty 50 index, the breadth was positive with 33 stocks advancing and 17 stocks declining.

The NSE's India VIX, a gauge of market's expectation of volatility over the near term, jumped 15.22% to 82.9475.

India Lockdown:

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.

Buzzing Index:

The Nifty Pharma index jumped 3.68% to 6,669.20, reversing yesterday's 7.5% slump.

Aurobindo Pharma (up 7.91%), Cipla (up 5.68%), Biocon (up 5.05%), Sun Pharmaceuticals (up 5.02%), Divi's Laboratories (up 3.96%), Glenmark Pharmaceuticals (up 3.72%), Dr. Reddy's Laboratories (up 1.57%), Lupin (up 1.23%), Piramal Enterprises (up 1.22%) and Cadila Healthcare (up 0.96%) advanced.

Stocks in Spotlight:

Jubilant Foodworks in a regulatory filing after market hours yesterday announced that it has suspended dine-in facility across all Domino's Pizza restaurants. The company said this is in view of the emergent situation due to coronavirus (COVID-19). The company further said that it will mitigate the impact and promote the takeaway and delivery channels but there will be an adverse impact on the revenue of the company. Shares of Jubilant Foodworks were up 0.13% at Rs 1289.95.

Shares Spicejet and Indigo fell by 4.79% to 5% after India suspended all domestic flights, effective midnight 24 March 2020, to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed thousands of lives across the world. In a statement, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said: The operations of domestic schedule commercial airlines shall cease operations with effective from the mid night 23.59 IST hours on 24 March 2020. Airlines have to plan operations so as to land at their destination before 2359 hours on 24 March 2020. The restrictions shall not apply to solely cargo carrying flights.

Global Markets:

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.

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.

The central bank's unscheduled announcement comes as investors remain unhappy with a lack of government action to address the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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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. 11:31 IST