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Sensex starts over 500 pts higher, pares gains on profit-booking

Mumbai, Mar 18 : Equity benchmark Sensex surged over 500 points in opening session on Wednesday as global markets turned positive on hopes of stimulus packages by governments world over to cushion the economic blow of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, invertors began booking profits pushing the BSE barometer in the red. The index pared all gains to trade 48.36 points or 0.16 per cent lower at 30,530.73 after jumping 522,68 points at open.

Similarly, after spiking over 160 points, the NSE Nifty was at 10.85 points, or 0.12 per cent, to 8,956.20.

In the previous session, the Sensex closed 810.98 points or 2.58 per cent lower at 30,579.09, while the Nifty slumped 230.35 points or 2.50 per cent to finish at 8,967.05.

On a net basis, foreign institutional investors sold equities worth Rs 4,044.69 crore on Tuesday, data available with stock exchanges showed.

Axis Bank, PowerGrid, Kotak Bank, IndusInd Bank and Nestle India were the top laggards, while Sun Pharma, Bharti Airtel, TCS, HCL Tech, HDFC Bank and ITC were among the gainers.

According to traders, domestic equities followed global stocks as hopes of economic stimuli from governments gave some respite to the increasing woes of investors.

US stocks recovered in overnight trade after reports that US President Donald Trump will ask Congress to approve a massive USD 850 billion emergency spending package to contain the growing economic damage from the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic that will include a payroll tax cut and a bailout for airlines.

It is the most far-reaching economic rescue package since the great recession of 2008.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul and Japan were trading on a positive note.

However, investors were still on edge as fear of an impending global recession is leading company heads to plead for billions in government help to prevent them going under, experts said.

Traders are looking at every spike to book profits in this market, they added.

The number of deaths around the world linked to Covid-19 has topped 7,400, with over 1,80,000 infections recorded globally so far.

In India, the number of infected cases stood at 130, as per union health ministry log.

The rupee appreciated 22 paise to 74.02 against US dollar in morning session.

Meanwhile, global oil benchmark Brent crude futures rose over 1.50 per cent to USD 29.16 per barrel.

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