Sensex soars to over four-month high on vaccine hopes; RIL, HDFC sparkle

Equity indices ratcheted higher for the fifth session on the trot on Tuesday as positive results from early trials of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate buoyed markets globally.
A sharp recovery in the rupee and healthy earnings from some corporates added to the bullish mood here, traders said.

The 30-share BSE Sensex, which opened on a firm foot, stayed in the positive territory throughout the session and closed at 37,930.33, up 511.34 points, or 1.37 per cent.

Similarly, the NSE Nifty rose 140.05 points, or 1.27 per cent, to end at 11,162.25.

This is the highest closing for both the benchmarks since March 5.

PowerGrid was the top gainer among the Sensex constituents, spurting 6.14 per cent, followed by Maruti, ICICI Bank, HDFC, Kotak Bank, Axis Bank, and Reliance Industries.

On the other hand, Bajaj Finance, Bajaj Finserv, Asian Paints and Sun Pharma were among the laggards, dropping up to 4.31 per cent.

Global equities rallied after Oxford University's COVID-19 vaccine candidate showed positive trial results, while EU leaders finalised a 750-billion euro stimulus plan.

"EU leaders have finally reached an agreement on a massive stimulus plan to combat the pandemic impact. News about successful progression of COVID-19 vaccine trials also boosted the global markets while positive quarterly earnings results, especially from the leaders, provided an additional support to the Indian markets.

"Although the market uptrend remains intact, investors are advised to be cautious since it seems to be in overvalued territory. Result-heavy day today, and stock specific commentary will be looked at," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.

BSE energy, oil and gas, bankex, realty, power, finance and auto indices jumped up to 2.94 per cent, while telecom, FMCG, healthcare and teck finished lower.

Broader BSE mid-cap index slipped 0.22 per cent, while the small-cap gauge rose 0.24 per cent.

HDFC Life Insurance logged 6 per cent rise in standalone net profit at Rs 451 crore for the first quarter of the current financial year.

Announcing its results post market hours, FMCG major Hindustan Unilever reported a 5.7 per cent increase in consolidated net profit to Rs 1,897 crore for the June quarter.

The coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford appears safe and induces a strong immune response within the body, scientists announced on Monday after the first phase of "promising" human trials against the deadly disease.

In India, AIIMS-Delhi also began recruiting volunteers for conducting human clinical trials of the indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine candidate Covaxin.

Bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul ended on a positive note.

Stock exchanges in Europe were also trading with significant gains in early deals.

The number of COVID-19 cases around the world has crossed 1.46 crore.

In India, the number of infections has spiked to 11.55 lakh, according to the health ministry.

Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude futures climbed 2.08 per cent to USD 44.18 per barrel.

In the forex market, the rupee appreciated 17 paise to close at 74.74 against the US dollar.
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