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Rs recovers 49 paise

Mumbai: The rupee recovered 49 paise to settle at 73.68 against the US dollar on Wednesday amid positive domestic equities and weakening of the American dollar in the overseas market.

The rupee on March 9 had plunged to a 17-month low of 74.17 against the US dollar amid mounting fears of a coronavirus-led economic slowdown.

At the interbank foreign exchange market, the rupee opened higher at 73.88 gained further ground to touch a high of 73.55 in day trade. The local unit finally settled at 73.68 against the US dollar, registering a rise of 49 paise over its previous close.

The forex market was closed on Tuesday on account of Holi.

Meanwhile, markets ended modestly higher on Wednesday, propped up by value buying in index heavyweights RIL, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank, even as risk sentiment remained subdued amid rising coronavirus cases in the country.

Despite rebounding over 386 points during the day, the 30-share BSE Sensex pared most gains to settle 62.45 points or 0.18 per cent higher at 35,697.40. On similar lines, the broader NSE Nifty closed 6.95 points or 0.07 per cent up at 10,458.40.

Investors made a cautious return to some recently-mauled counters in the energy, banking and consumption sectors, traders said.

Top gainers in the Sensex pack included Hero MotoCorp (4.08 per cent), Reliance Industries (3.60 per cent), ICICI Bank (1.80 per cent) and HUL (1.51 per cent).

On the other hand, Tata Steel, IndusInd Bank, ONGC, SBI and Infosys tumbled up to 7.11 per cent.

According to analysts, equity benchmarks gave up most gains as nervousness heightened among investors amid rapidly increasing coronavirus cases in the country and mixed cues from global markets. BSE energy, telecom, capital goods, finance and banking indices gained up to 2.11 per cent, while realty, oil and gas, metal, IT, consumer durables and auto settled in the red.

The broader BSE midcap and smallcap indices underperformed the benchmarks, ending up to 0.89 per cent lower.

Global markets were mixed as investors assessed the impact of the coronavirus outbreak amid expectations of coordinated measures by various central banks to boost growth.

Bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo ended with significant losses, while those in Europe rallied up to 2 per cent in early trade.

Brent crude oil futures slipped 2.02 per cent to $36.47 per barrel, after Saudi Arabia hiked production by one million barrels a day.

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