The equity benchmarks were trading with small gains in early afternoon trade. At 12:20 IST, the barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, rose 35.73 points or 0.08% at 44,215.78. The Nifty 50 index gained 22.55 points or 0.17% at 12,960.80.
In the broader market, the S&P BSE Mid-Cap index rose 0.95% while the S&P BSE Small-Cap index gained 1.19%.
The market breadth was strong. On the BSE, 1,604 shares rose and 939 shares fell. A total of 178 shares were unchanged.
Total COVID-19 confirmed cases worldwide stood at 5,62,50,764 with 13,49,380 deaths. India reported 4,43,303 active cases of COVID-19 infection and 1,31,578 deaths while 83,83,602 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 NSE's India VIX, a gauge of market's expectation of volatility over the near term, rose 2.30% to 19.56. The Nifty November 2020 futures were trading at 12,954.95, at a premium of 5.50 points compared with the spot at 12,949.45.
The Nifty option chain for 26 November 2020 expiry showed maximum Call OI of 23.09 lakh contracts at the 13,000 strike price. Maximum Put OI of 32.88 lakh contracts was seen at 12,000 strike price.
The Nifty Auto index gained 1.16% to 8,787. The index has added 13.64% in twelve sessions.
Ashok Leyland (up 2.42%), Bharat Forge (up 2.14%), MRF (up 1.80%) and Motherson Sumi Systems (up 1.39%) advanced.
Hero MotoCorp was up 3.07%. The two-wheeler major sold more than 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, the company said.
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ACC rose 1.70% after the cement major has divested its non-operational wholly-owned subsidiary, National Limestone Company, to N.G. Ghadiya Group.
ACC executed a share purchase agreement (SPA) with N.G. Ghadiya Group on 18 November 2020. The transaction is expected to close in next four weeks from signing of the SPA. ACC has received a consideration of Rs 20 crore from the disposal. N.G. Ghadiya Group is engaged in the business of construction and mining.
Dr Reddy's Laboratories gained 1.23%. The drug major on Thursday (19 November) said it has commenced a detailed investigation into an anonymous complaint. The complaint alleges that healthcare professionals in Ukraine and potentially in other countries were provided with improper benefits in violation of U.S. laws. The investigation is being carried out by an independent U.S. law firm.
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