Sensex closes above 48k for 1st time as vaccine approvals bolster recovery hopes; IT stocks sparkle

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Rising for the ninth straight session, the BSE Sensex closed above the 48,000-mark for the first time on Monday as investor sentiment got a boost after India approved two coronavirus vaccines over the weekend.

A strengthening rupee, positive global cues, and encouraging macroeconomic data gave further impetus to risk appetite, traders said.

The 30-share BSE Sensex ended 307.82 points or 0.64 percent higher at 48,176.80. It touched a record intra-day peak of 48,220.47.

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty jumped 114.40 points or 0.82 percent to its fresh lifetime high of 14,132.90. It scaled an all-time high of 14,147.95 during the session.

ONGC was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, spurting 4.02 percent, followed by TCS, HCL Tech, Tech Mahindra, Infosys, M&M, HUL, Sun Pharma, and L&T.

On the other hand, Kotak Bank, Bajaj Finance, Asian Paints, HDFC Bank, PowerGrid, and Titan were among the laggards, shedding up to 1.43 percent.

India’s drugs regulator on Sunday approved Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine Covishield and indigenously-developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country.

Experts said the approvals and likely commencement of the inoculation process soon bode well for the markets and economy.

“Emboldened by the likely rollout of the vaccines this month, bulls went berserk, bolstered by IT and metal stocks with able support from pharma stocks. PMI data and renewed buying in select financials provided buoyancy across the broader markets,” said S Ranganathan, Head of Research at LKP Securities.

India’s manufacturing sector activity strengthened in December, with manufacturers stepping up production and input buying amid efforts to rebuild their inventories following business closures earlier in the year, PMI data showed.

The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was at 56.4 in December, a tick higher than November”s 56.3 and above the critical 50 thresholds for the fifth straight month.

Sector-wise, BSE metal, IT, tech, oil and gas, auto, industrials, and telecom indices rallied up to 5.34 percent, while bankex and consumer durables slipped.

Broader BSE midcap and smallcap indices rose up to 1.42 percent.

Global equities surged as vaccine rollout in multiple countries enthused investors.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai, Seoul, and Hong Kong ended on a positive note, while and Tokyo was in the red.

Stock exchanges in Europe opened with significant gains.

Meanwhile, the global oil benchmark Brent crude futures rose 1.31 percent to USD 52.48 per barrel.

The rupee appreciated by 9 paise to close at 73.02 against the US dollar on Monday, supported by sustained foreign fund inflows.

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