Domestic stock markets started Thursday’s session on a strong note, tracking sharp gains across Asian markets. The S&P BSE Sensex index opened 495.98 points – or 1.22 per cent – higher at 41,112.12, and the broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark began the day at 12,062.40, up 153.90 points – or 1.29 per cent – from its previous close. Gains across sectors – led by banking and financial services shares – pushed the markets higher. Analysts awaited updates from a key hearing in the Supreme Court as a deadline given to banks by the government to waive interest payments on loans due to COVID-19 ends on Thursday.
At 9:23 am, the Sensex traded 514.87 points – or 1.27 per cent – higher at 41,131.01, while the Nifty was up 148.90 points – or 1.25 per cent – at 12,057.40. (Track Sensex, Nifty)
SBI, HCL Tech, Tata Steel, IndusInd Bank and Hindalco – trading between 1.87 per cent and 5.17 per cent higher – rose the most among 48 gainers in the Nifty basket of 50 shares.
Infosys, Reliance Industries, SBI and HDFC Bank were the biggest contributors to the gain in Sensex. The four scrips accounted for more than 200 points in its rise.
The Supreme Court was due to hear a batch of petitions later in the day on whether borrowers should be made to bear interest on interest for delayed loan repayments on account of COVID-19. Also, a deadline given to banks and other financial institutions to pay the difference in compound interest and simple interest on repayments due during March-August ends on Thursday.
Last month, the government told the top court it will waive certain interest levies on loans below Rs 2 crore under a relief plan. The court had asked the government to implement the scheme, which would bring relief to millions of borrowers, at the earliest.
Equity markets elsewhere in Asia soared to three-month highs, and bonds continued a rally, as investors wagered the likely prospect of US policy gridlock would greatly favour some industries while putting a restraining hand on government borrowing.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan climbed 1.3 per cent to its highest since February, 2018. Japan’s Nikkei 225 benchmark rose 1.1 per cent to a nine-month peak. The E-Mini S&P 500 futures edged 0.1 per cent higher, following sharp gains overnight, but EUROSTOXX 50 futures eased 0.3 per cent.
The risk of a prolonged contested election remained, though the count was progressing in an orderly fashion with Democratic challenger Joe Biden narrowly ahead of President Donald Trump in key states. (Also Read: “Trump Or Biden, No Big Difference For Indian Markets“)
Both President Donald Trump and Mr Biden have paths to 270 Electoral College votes as states tallied mail-in ballots. Mr Biden remained optimistic on winning while the Republican incumbent filed lawsuits and demanded recounts. Betting sites swung toward Mr Biden as the results trickled in, having earlier heavily favoured Mr Trump.