Domestic stock markets fluctuated between gains and losses in early trade on Wednesday, amid weakness in Asian equities as a resurgence of coronavirus cases challenged market confidence in a rapid economic recovery. The S&P BSE Sensex index fell as much as 0.81 per cent - or 272.26 points - to hit 33,332.96 in the first few minutes of trade, before bouncing 367.52 points from there to touch 33,700.48 on the upside, having started the day down 166.91 points at 33,438.31. The broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark recovered to as high as 9,944.85 after falling to as low as 9,833.80 compared to its previous close of 9,914.00. Gains in IT, auto and pharma shares supported the markets.
The markets turned flat after briefly trading in the positive territory. At 9:48 am, the Sensex traded 12.33 points - or 0.04 per cent - lower at 33,592.89, while the Nifty was up 6.80 points - or 0.07 per cent - at 9,920.80.
Equities in other Asian markets were down amid rising cases of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shaken the world's financial markets and businesses.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan was last seen trading 0.28 per cent lower, having climbed up 2.8 per cent the previous day, while Japan's Nikkei 225 benchmark was down 0.74 per cent.
While China's Shanghai Composite and South Korea's KOSPI barometers were down 0.17 per cent and 0.61 per cent respectively, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was up 0.01 per cent.
Business sentiment of Asian companies hit an 11-year low in the second quarter, a survey by Thomson Reuters/INSEAD found, with some two-thirds of the firms polled flagging a worsening COVID-19 pandemic as the biggest risk over the next six months.
The E-Mini S&P 500 futures were down 0.39 per cent at the time, indicating a weaker start for US markets on Wednesday.
Overnight on Wall Street, all three benchmark US equity indices posted their third consecutive daily gains. The S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ended 1.90 per cent, 2.04 per cent and 1.75 per cent higher respectively, as the prospect of additional stimulus and a record jump in retail sales suggested the US economy could bounce back sooner than expected, five months into its pandemic-inflicted recession.
On Tuesday, the S&P BSE Sensex index had ended 376.42 points - or 1.13 per cent - higher at 33,605.22, and the broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark settled at 9,914.00, up 100.30 points - or 1.02 per cent - from its previous close, as the markets shares shrugged off a momentary jolt from rising India-China border tensions amid hopes of a fresh liquidity boost from the US central bank that lifted global risk sentiment.