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Equities eke out gains as investors assess virus impact; SBI spurts on Yes Bank takeover buzz

Mumbai: Markets surrendered most of their early gains to end modestly higher on Thursday as investors weighed the impact of rising coronavirus cases in the country.

After rallying over 478 points during the day, the 30-share BSE Sensex settled 61.13 points or 0.16 per cent higher at 38,470.61.

On similar lines, the broader NSE Nifty advanced 18 points or 0.16 per cent to finish at 11,269.

Kotak Mahindra Bank was the top gainer among the Sensex constituents, climbing 2.74 per cent, followed by HCL Tech, TCS, Bharti Airtel, HUL and Asian Paints.

SBI jumped 1.05 per cent following reports that the government has given the go-ahead to the lender and other financial institutions to take over capital-starved Yes Bank.

Laggards included RIL, Tech Mahindra, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank, dropping up to 2.06 per cent.

According to analysts, despite trading significantly higher through the day on positive global cues, markets failed to hold on to most gains as domestic investors turned increasingly risk averse amid rising cases of coronavirus in the country.

One more case of novel coronavirus was reported in the national capital region on Thursday, taking the total number in the country to 30 so far, including 16 Italian tourists.

Global stocks rallied as investors were hopeful that the collective efforts of global governments and central banks would cushion the economic blowback of the coronavirus epidemic.

The IMF on Wednesday said it will make available about $50 billion through its rapid-disbursing emergency financing facilities for low income and emerging market countries that could potentially seek support on account of the coronavirus. BSE telecom, FMCG, consumer durables, bankex, teck, healthcare and capital goods indices ended up to 1.21 per cent higher, while energy, realty, metal, oil and gas, power and utilities ended in the red.

Broader BSE midcap and smallcap indices settled 0.31 per cent higher. Bourses in China, Shanghai, Seoul and Tokyo ended with robust gains, while those in Europe fell up to 1 per cent in early trade.

Brent crude oil futures inched up 0.04 per cent to $51.16 per barrel. The rupee snapped its four-session losing run on Thursday to close 6 paise higher at 73.33 against the US dollar amid hopes that efforts by countries and global agencies would offset financial damage from the novel coronavirus outbreak.

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