Stimulus hopes, Brexit deal lift benchmarks; Axis Bank rises over 3%

With Thursday’s close, the benchmark indices clocked their longest stretch of weekly gains since January 2018
The benchmark indices gained on Thursday amid positive global cues, ahead of the announcement of a post-Brexit deal between the UK and the European Union. Announced late on Thursday, the deal brought months of negotiations to an end.

The Sensex ended the session at 46,973, a gain of 529 points or 1.14 per cent. The Nifty ended the session at 13,749, or up 148 points or 1.09 per cent. The announcement was delayed amid last-minute issues over fishing rights. “We have got Brexit done, and can now take full advantage of the fantastic opportunities available to us,” said a statement from Downing Street. 

With Thursday’s close, the benchmark indices clocked their longest stretch of weekly gains since January 2018. The indices are within striking distance of fresh peaks. Investors are betting on countries ramping up vaccination programmes, and hope a stimulus package will eventually get done despite President Donald Trump’s objections. 

“Governments’ plans to set logistics for vaccinating frontline health workers in the first phase boosted investor sentiment. Momentum in European markets, on hopes of a Brexit deal, also helped Indian indices trade higher; financials and pharma sector contributed to the rally. The volatility noticed at the start of the week vanished by the end of the week, as concerns over the new strain of virus reduced, and thanks to development on the US stimulus and vaccination,” said Vinod Nair, head (research), Geojit. 

However, rising infections across the globe are worrying investors. On Wednesday, the UK government said many places in England would be placed under strict restrictions. 

Analysts said institutional participation would be lower in the coming week due to the festive week.

While 222 stocks hit their 52-week highs, 337 were locked in the upper circuit on the BSE. Market breadth was positive, with 1,671 stocks advancing and 1,278 declining on the BSE. 

Two-thirds of Sensex components ended the session with gains. Axis Bank was the worst-performing Sensex stock, closing with 3.04 per cent gains. Sun Pharma, ONGC, RIL, HDFC, and Kotak Mahindra Bank ended the session with more than 2 per cent gains.  

Kospi rallies on vaccine deals

South Korean shares hit a record high on Thursday, leading gains for most emerging Asian stock markets in holiday-thinned trading after the country secured deals to import Covid vaccines.

Most of the region’s emerging currencies also firmed against a softer dollar. Deals with Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen fuelled a near-2 per cent rise in the Kospi, adding an eighth straight week of gains, while the won firmed half a per cent. Stocks and currencies across Asia’s emerging markets are set to end the year on a positive note, having recovered much of the losses suffered earlier in the year on the back of an upturn in China and a flood of fiscal and monetary stimulus. Reuters

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