Domestic stock markets started the last day of the trading week on a positive note, a day after the government announced a Rs 1.7 lakh-crore package to support the poor through direct cash transfers and food security measures. The S&P BSE Sensex index rose as much as 1,158.34 points to touch 31,105.11 in the first few minutes of trade, after opening with a gain of 801.04 points at 30,747.81. The broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark climbed to as high as 9,026.85, up 385.4 points from the previous close, after starting the day at 8,949.10. Gains across sectors - led by banking and financial services stocks - supported the markets.
At 9:18 am, the Sensex traded 940.37 points - or 3.14 per cent - higher at 30,887.14 while the Nifty was up 339.45 points - or 3.93 per cent - at 8,980.90.
All stocks but one traded higher at the time. Top percentage gainers were Axis Bank, IndusInd Bank, ICICI Bank, Bajaj Finserv and HDFC Bank, trading between 7.12 per cent and 9.99 per cent higher.
HDFC Bank (up 5.04 per cent), HDFC (4.07 per cent) and ICICI Bank (5.09 per cent) alone accounted for a rise of nearly 350 points in the Sensex.
Market breadth was extremely positive with an advance decline ratio of 7:1, as 747 stocks traded higher on the BSE against only 89 that moved lower. On the NSE, 1,189 stocks moved up against 519 that succumbed to the opposite direction.
Analysts awaited Reserve Bank of India Governor's media briefing due at 10 am for cues.
Watch out for RBI Governor @DasShaktikanta address to the media live at 10:00 am today (March 27, 2020) #rbitoday#rbigovernorReserveBankOfIndia (@RBI) March 27, 2020
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, however, did not provide details on how the programme will be funded, in a country that always walks a line in terms of its fiscal deficit. The measures will be effective from April 1.
The announcement of the fiscal package on Thursday came two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered the 21-day lockdown to protect the country's 130 crore people from the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic. That led to supply constraints for essential items and panic buying, leaving the poor and daily labourers most vulnerable.
Equity markets elsewhere in Asia rose on Friday as investors wagered policymakers will roll out more stimulus measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic after US unemployment filings surged to a record.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.2 per cent. Japan's Nikkei rose 1.44 per cent, but Australian shares gave up gains to fall 1.09 per cent.
E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 reversed course and fell 0.95 per cent in Asia following three consecutive days of gains in the S&P 500 on Wall Street.