Markets witness mild recovery; Sensex jumps nearly 6% after FM's package

The Indian markets on Tuesday rose 2.5 per cent, underperforming global peers, most of which rose over 5 per cent after the US Federal Reserve announced an open-ended bond-buying programme to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

In intra-day trade, the Sensex had jumped nearly 6 per cent, mirroring gains in the Asian and European markets, however, gave up half the gains in the last hour of trade as the relief measures announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman left investors disappointed.

Experts said investors were pinning hopes on a big-bang stimulus package from the finance minister, who addressed the media at 2 pm. Although she announced a slew of relief measures, she deferred major announcing an economic stimulus package. “The market came off highs as no significant announcements were made by the finance minister and the fact that the economic package was still in development,” said Vinod Nair, head of research at Geojit Financial Services.

The Sensex after climbing to 27,463 settled at 26,674, up 693 points, or 2.7 per cent. The Nifty rose 2.5 per cent, or 191 points, to end at 7,801.

Meanwhile, some Asian and European markets rose as much as 7 per cent, boosted by the Fed's move and also as the number of new coronavirus cases in Italy slowed for a second day.

A day earlier, the Indian markets had crashed 13 per cent to end at four-year lows amid a sudden stop of economic activities because of nationwide lockdowns and curfews to contain the spread of highly contagious coronavirus.

Many investors expressed disappointment as the Indian markets underperformed its global peers, both on the way down on Monday and also on the way up on Tuesday.

“The Indian markets gained the least among the Asian and European markets continuing its underperformance,” said Deepak Jasani, head retail research, HDFC Securities.

Sitharaman said her ministry was monitoring the developments in the market and there was no intention of delaying the stimulus announcements.

Experts said the need of the hour is bold and big stimulus to fight the economic damage caused by the pandemic.

“While the government is yet to announce stimulus package for the economy under distress because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has provided some relief to corporates and MSMEs on their compliance obligations concerning the MCA and tax return filing. The COVID-19 pandemic is, however, set to create a large-scale economic disruption in India and we believe that a quick and broader stimulus will be necessary for the repair and revival of the domestic economy,” said Suman Chowdhury, president-ratings, Acuité Ratings & Research.

Index heavyweights Infosys and Reliance Industries accounted for the bulk of the Sensex gains. Infosys rose 12.7 per cent, while RIL jumped 6.7 per cent. Bajaj Finance rose 10 per cent and Hindustan Unilever gained 8.3 per cent. The biggest Sensex loser was Mahindra & Mahindra, which fell 8.3 per cent, followed by IndusInd Bank, which declined by 7.2 per cent. The private sector lender had dropped as much as 30 per cent intra-day because of concerns over the liquidation of shares pledged by promoters.

Overseas investors sold shares worth Rs 2,153 crore, while domestic investors provided buying support to the tune of Rs 1,553 crore. Even after Tuesday’s rebound, the Sensex is down 30 per cent in March. The decline has come amid a record selling of nearly Rs 50,000 crore by foreign investors.

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