March 20, 2020 / 8:53 AM / 11 days ago

Indian shares jump on global stimulus hopes; IT stocks shine

BENGALURU, March 20 (Reuters) - Indian shares rebounded along with their Asian peers on Friday after four sessions of bruising losses, as policymakers across the world launched fresh efforts to stem the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Asian shares made a partial comeback from a global rout and European shares were set for similar gains on Friday.

Central banks in Europe, Japan, Australia and the United States announced new stimulus to help businesses battered by a near halt in economic activity due to the virus outbreak, and U.S. Senate was debating a $1 trillion-plus package that would include direct financial help for Americans.

India’s NSE Nifty 50 index was up 4.17% at 8,611.35 by 0834 GMT, while the S&P BSE Sensex was 4.36% higher at 29,522.82.

The Nifty 50 was on track for its best one-day gain in more than six months, but was poised to end the week some 12% lower, and analysts signalled the worst was far from over.

“The announcements by global central banks and stimulus measures are helping. Some short-covering is also happening,” said Mayuresh Joshi, head of equity research at William O’Neil & Co in India.

“But overall, how the pandemic will be contained still remains a cause of concern,” he added.

State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp led gains on the Nifty 50 with a 14.5% jump as oil prices bounced back.

The Nifty IT index jumped 10%, with shares of Infosys and Wipro surging about 10% each.

Shares in India’s largest private-sector lender HDFC Bank slid as much as 7.9% and was last down 2.3% after Bernstein downgraded the stock.

The virus, which originated in China, has spread quickly around the globe, claiming more than 10,000 lives and hammering economic activity.

The carnage in financial markets has taken India’s blue-chip Nifty 50 index 33% below its Jan. 20 record intraday high, while India’s small-cap and mid-cap shares have fared no better, falling roughly 29% since the start of 2020.

The pandemic also threatens to chip away at India’s economic growth, already languishing at multi-year lows, as it forces more offices and factories into lockdown, pressuring corporate balance sheets.

BofA Securities on Thursday cut its June-quarter growth projections for the country by 90 basis points to 3.1% as it forecast a global recession.

Meanwhile, the rupee, which sunk to a new all-time low of 75.3525 against the dollar on Thursday, was last weaker by 0.13%. (Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Anil D’Silva)

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