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At 11:59 am, the Sensex traded 68.50 points - or 0.18 per cent - higher at 38,212.52, while the Nifty was up 24.15 points - or 0.22 per cent - at 11,156.90. Although all sectors on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) continued to remain positive at the time, buying interest eased.
Thirty four components in the Nifty basket of 50 shares traded higher. Top percentage gainers were Vedanta, Hindalco, Cipla, Sun Pharma, zee and Eicher Motors, trading between 2.59 per cent and 4.78 per cent higher. On the other hand, Bajaj Finserv, Titan, ITC, HUL, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank - down between 0.58 per cent and 1.56 per cent - were the top losers.
The NSE's India VIX index - which gauges the markets' expectation of volatility in the near term - was up 2.71 per cent at the time, after jumping as much as 5.12 per cent during the session.
Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank and TCS were the top contributors to the gain in Sensex, whereas HDFC Bank, Bajaj Auto and ITC were the biggest drags. Analysts say investors closely monitored any updates on the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
"Even though the number of cases outside China are increasing and creating ripples in global markets, markets are assuming a huge possibility that coordinated central bank action and infusion of liquidity can help tackle the economic fallout of the virus," said Mayuresh Joshi, head of equity research at William O'Neil & Co in India.
Equities in other Asian markets jumped, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gaining 0.8 per cent and Japan's Nikkei jumping 1.6 per cent. South Korea's Kospi added 2.4 per cent and Australian shares advanced 1.8 per cent ahead of an expected rate cut by the Reserve Bank of Australia. The Australian central bank is widely expected to cut the policy interest rate to 0.5 per cent from 0.75 per cent, already a record low.
The European Central Bank on Monday joined the chorus of central banks signalling a readiness to deal with the growing threats from the coronavirus outbreak. That followed Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, who had earlier flagged readiness to move after a rout in global stocks last week.
The moves by policymakers reflected growing fears that the disruption to supply chains, factory output and global travel caused by the new epidemic could deal a serious blow to a world economy trying to recover from the US-China trade war.
Coronavirus is now spreading much more rapidly outside China than within the country, leading the world into uncharted territory, although the World Health Organization (WHO) has so far stopped short of calling it a pandemic.
On Monday, the S&P BSE Sensex index had reversed early gains to end 153.27 points - or 0.40 per cent - lower at 38,144.02, and the broader NSE Nifty benchmark settled at 11,132.75, down 69.00 points - or 0.62 per cent - from the previous close, as the markets extended losses to a seventh straight day.
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