Bloomberg, Reuters Mumbai
Most Indian stocks rose yesterday, with the benchmark equity index capping yet another weekly gain.
The S&P BSE Sensex ended little changed at 38,040.57 points in Mumbai even as 17 of its 30 constituents rose. The gauge climbed 1.2% over five days, marking its seventh weekly advance in eight. The NSE Nifty 50 Index rose 0.1% on Friday and 1.3% for the week.
Foreign funds injected a net $1.1bn into Indian shares this week to August 5, making it the only major Asian market to attract inflows in the period even as the nation battles the world’s third-highest number of coronavirus cases and faces its first economic contraction in four decades. The central bank on Thursday outlined measures to ease stress in the banking sector while keeping interest rates unchanged.
“We have seen continuing weakness in financials, but that has been made up for by strength in other sectors such as IT, pharma, and metals” said Amit Khurana, head of research at Dolat Capital Market Pvt in Mumbai.
With earnings season underway, 20 of the 31 Nifty 50 companies that have reported quarterly results so far have beaten or matched analyst estimates. Cipla Ltd is due to report later.
The rupee was steady at 74.9350 per dollar, while the yield on the most traded 10-year government bonds rose two basis points to 5.89%.
Fourteen of 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd advanced, led by a gauge of power companies.
Reliance Industries Ltd climbed 0.6%, giving the biggest boost to the Sensex, while Asian Paints Ltd was the biggest winner with a 4.4% jump; Titan Co dropped the most with a 2.7% decline, while Infosys Ltd was the biggest drag on the gauge, slipping 1.9%.
Meanwhile the rupee ended almost flat at 74.93 (provisional) against the US dollar yesterday due to a caution prevailing in the forex market in view of mounting coronavirus cases and US-China trade tensions. Starting off on a tepid note, the rupee fell to a low of 75.04, but recovered slightly thereafter and moved in a narrow band throughout the session. It finally settled at 74.93, gaining 1 paisa over its previous close.
On Thursday too, the rupee had closed steady after the Reserve Bank maintained a status quo in its policy rates.
The US dollar index, which gauges the value of the greenback against a basket of key global currencies, rose 0.32% to 93.08.
Analysts said forex market sentiment was mainly guided by growing US-China trade tensions and mounting coronavirus cases in the country.
The number of Covid-19 cases in India has crossed 20 lakh mark and the death toll climbed past 41,000, official data showed.
In fresh concerns for global trade outlook, the US is considering a proposal to crackdown on Chinese companies that are listed on American bourses and do not follow US audit requirements, according to a report.
Foreign investors infused Rs637.43 crore on a net basis into Indian equities on Thursday, exchange data showed.
Global crude oil benchmark Brent was trading lower by 0.42% at $44.90 a barrel.
On the domestic equities front, the BSE Sensex was down 41.56 points or 0.11% at 37,983.89; while the NSE Nifty traded 2.95 points or 0.26% lower at 11,197.20.
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