Sensex, Nifty rise on vaccine hopes, IT leading gains

People walk past the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai, India

Indian shares tracked Asian peers higher on Thursday, led by gains in IT and automaker stocks, as investors clung to hopes of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus even as confirmed infections at home crossed 600,000.

The Nifty rose 0.89% to 10,523 by 0506 GMT, while the Sensex was up 0.94% at 35,747.69 after touching a near four-month high of 35,804.97.

Broader Asian shares followed a strong close on the Wall Street after a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech was found to be well tolerated in early-stage human trials.

Investors shrugged off the rise in domestic cases of COVID-19, with the death toll touching 17,834, days after the government allowed more economic activities to resume.

“The Nifty 50 seems to be clearly bypassing a major hurdle at 10,375 level. It could now head for the 10,900-11,000 mark if global markets remain supportive,” said Rusmik Oza, head of fundamental research at Kotak Securities in Mumbai.

The benchmark stock indexes are still down around 14% even after a sharp recovery from March’s multi-year lows.

“The BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance) sector, which has underperformed the market, will be in focus going forward, with the RBI’s liquidity support to shadow banks also improving confidence,” said Oza.

On Wednesday, the Reserve Bank of India announced here a government-backed fund to buy debt from shadow banks, in a move seen easing a liquidity crunch in the sector. The Nifty Bank Index gained 1.7%.

Among IT stocks, Infosys Ltd jumped 3.9% to a near four-month high, while Tata Consultancy Services Ltd rose 2.7% to its highest since February 26.

Automakers Hero MotoCorp Ltd and Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd rose 2.9% and 3.8%, respectively.

Axis Bank Ltd reversed early gains to fall as much as 2.8% after it approved raising 150 billion rupees ($1.99 billion) through issue of shares.

Was it worth reading? Let us know.