The benchmark equity indices on the BSE and National Stock Exchange settled on a mixed note following a highly volatile session on Friday even as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) sharply cut its key interest rates in a bid to support the struggling economy amid the ongoing 21-day lockdown.
The S&P BSE Sensex ended at 29,815.59, down 131.18 points (0.44 per cent), while the broader Nifty 50 closed at 8,660.25, up 18.80 points (0.22 per cent). During the day, both the indices swung sharply between positive and negative territories. In the morning, the Sensex had reclaimed the 30,000-mark, rising to a high of 30,747.81, the Nifty too had reclaimed the 9,000-mark to hit 9,038.90.
However, the indices turned volatile after the RBI announced a cut in its repo rate by 75 basis points (bps) to 4.4 per cent while reverse repo rate was reduced by 90 bps to 4 per cent. Apart from this, the central bank cut the cash reserve ratio (CRR) for the banks by 100 bps to 3 per cent with effect from March 28 for the next year, which it said will release Rs 1.37 lakh crore in liquidity. Along with these measures, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said all the commercial banks were permitted to allow a three-month moratorium on payment of instalments of all term loans as on March 1, 2020.
Gains on the Sensex were led by Axis Bank, ITC, NTPC, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), ICICI Bank and State Bank of India. On the other hand, Bajaj Finance, Hero MotoCorp, Bharti Airtel, IndusInd Bank, Maruti Suzuki India and HCL Technologies were the top losers of the day.
Here’s how Sensex stocks performed:
Among sectoral indices on NSE, the Nifty Bank index settled 1.81 per cent higher led by Bandhan Bank, The Federal Bank and Axis Bank. On the other hand, the Nifty Auto index fell 2.42 per cent weighed by Hero MotoCorp, Bharat Forge, TVS Motor Company and Maruti Suzuki.
“Indices ended almost flat following the RBI measures to lessen the burden on borrowers and to increase liquidity in the system. The markets were up in the last 2 sessions on the expectations of these announcements from the Government and RBI. Now since the 2 expected events are out of the way, focus comes back on the spread of the virus and its damage on the already reeling economy,” Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services said in a post-market update.
The Indian rupee appreciated by 81 paise to 74.35 against the US dollar in intra-day trade on Friday, after the Reserve Bank announced various measures including a 75 basis point cut in repo rate to support the economy amid the coronavirus-induced crisis.
The rupee which opened on a positive note at 74.60, gained further momentum and touched a high of 74.35 against the US dollar, registering a rise of 81 paise over its previous close.
On Thursday, the rupee had settled at 75.16 against the US dollar.
– With rupee inputs from PTI
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