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Sensex recovers 693 pts amid govt measures to aid coronavirus-hit economy

MUMBAI: A day after the historic rout, equity benchmark Sensex bounced back to close 693 points higher on Tuesday as investors noted governments across the world taking prompt economic measures to offset the financial damage from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Indian equities followed an improved investor sentiment in Asia after the Federal Reserve announced limitless bond-buying programme to support the US economy.

Meanwhile, Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said an economic package to help through the coronavirus lockdown was in works even as fresh cases of virus spread reported from various parts of the country.

After gyrating 1,823.97 points, the BSE barometer gave up some gains to end 692.79 points or 2.67 per cent higher at 26,674.03. It hit an intra-day high of 27,462.87 and a low of 25,638.90.

Similarly, the NSE Nifty settled 190.80 points, or 2.51 per cent, down at 7,801.05.

Top gainers in the Sensex pack included Infosys, Bajaj Finance, Maruti, HUL, HCL Tech and Reliance Industries, while M&M, IndusInd Bank, ITC, PowerGrid and L&T were among the losers.

According to experts, a major package from the government of India and the Reserve Bank is expected shortly, and the market is likely to remain hugely volatile with rising possibility of V shaped recovery occasionally.

The US Fed is now leading from the front with its historic package which includes open-ended purchase of securities, direct loans to companies, purchase of corporate bonds, lending against student loans and credit card loans, they said.

The Federal Reserve on Monday announced it will buy unlimited amounts of US Treasury debt -- essentially printing money for the economy -- as well as new steps to lend directly to small- and medium-sized companies that have been among the hardest-hit as economic activity dries up.

Other central banks are also expected to follow suit with bold measures to ease the severely strained credit and financial markets, experts noted.

Traders said extreme lockdown measures taken by the government of India and authorities across the world still weigh on global investor sentiment.

Bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul rallied up to 8 per cent. Exchanges in Europe too rallied up to 6 per cent.

Meanwhile, the rupee appreciated marginally against the US dollar to 76.17 (intra-day).

Global crude benchmark, Brent crude futures rose 5.22 per cent to USD 28.44 per barrel.

Coronavirus cases in India crossed 500 and one more death from the infection reported taking the toll to ten, as the Centre on Tuesday asked the states and union territories to clamp curfew wherever necessary in the wake of people defying lockdown orders in several parts of the country.

The number of global Covid-19 infections has shot past 3,80,000. Worldwide fatalities topped 16,500.


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