Benchmark indices snapped three sessions of losing streak today, led by gains in banking, pharma and IT stocks. Sensex jumped 424 points to close at 48,677 and Nifty surged 121 points to 14,617. Banking, pharma and IT stocks led the rebound after RBI announced key economic measures to counter the impact of Covid 2.0 on the economy.
Sun Pharma was the top Sensex gainer, soaring 5.94 per cent, followed by Kotak Bank, Axis Bank, IndusInd Bank, ICICI Bank, Dr Reddy's, Titan and TCS.
Of 30 Sensex stocks, 27 closed in green. Bajaj Finance, Asian Paints and HUL shares fell up to 1.75 per cent on the index. "Domestic equities rebounded mainly supported by financials, IT and pharma. Notably, announcement of liquidity supports by the RBI's Governor to tackle the challenges coming from second wave of COVID-19 crisis aided financials to rebound," said Binod Modi, Head Strategy at Reliance Securities. While elevated COVID-19 cases in several states and rising number of deaths are matters of concern, visible modest decline in new cases in many states including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat offers comfort, he added.
Earlier in the day, RBI allowed certain individual and small borrowers more time to repay debt and allowed banks to give priority loans to vaccine makers, hospitals and COVID-related health infrastructure as it announced support measures to cushion the pandemic's blow to the economy.
RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das also said the central bank will buy Rs 35,000 crore of bonds under the Government Securities Acquisition Programme (G-SAP) -- India's version of quantitative easing -- on May 20. RBI also allowed banks to dip into their floating provisions to set aside money for bad loans.
In terms of sectors, BSE healthcare index was the top gainer, closing 713 points higher at 24,038. BSE bankex and BSE IT index too rose 612 points and 284 points, respectively. BSE midcap and small cap indices rose 211 points and 167 points, respectively.
Market breadth was positive with 1,795 stocks closing higher against 1150 shares ending lower on BSE. 167 stocks were unchanged.
Market cap of BSE listed firms stood at Rs 208.66 lakh crore. Meanwhile, S&P Global Ratings on Wednesday slashed India's GDP growth forecast for the current financial year to 9.8 per cent, saying the second COVID wave may derail a budding recovery in the economy and credit conditions.
India's services sector activities eased to a three-month low in April, as the rise in business activity was constrained by the pandemic and sentiment towards growth prospects faded, a monthly survey showed.