The Indian equity benchmarks extended gains in noon deals on the back of buying interest in banking, pharma, information technology and PSU banking shares after the Reserve Bank of India announced measures including provision of term liquidity facility of Rs 50,000 crore for healthcare and loan moratorium for individual borrowers and small businesses. The Sensex rose as much as 473 points to 48,727 and Nifty 50 index climbed above its important psychological level of 14,600.
As of 1:12 pm, the Sensex was up 472 points at 48,725 and Nifty 50 index advanced 126 points to 14,623.
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das said the central bank has asked lenders to provide fresh moratorium to certain small borrowers, which will be available to individuals and small and medium enterprises that did not avail any restructuring in 2020.
"Small businesses and financial entities at the grassroot level are bearing the biggest brunt of the second wave of infections," Mr Das said, as he announced a slew of other measures to enhance liquidity and boost lending to various needy sectors.
Both indexes had closed at their lowest in more than a week on Tuesday, as domestic coronavirus cases surged past the grim milestone of 20 million.
However, the RBI governor said the second COVID-19 wave was not "insurmountable" and that the future remained "bright".
Nine of 11 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange were trading higher led by the Nifty Pharma index's nearly 4 per cent gain. Nifty PSU Bank, Private Bank, Bank, Financial Services and IT indexes also rose between 1-2 per cent.
On the other hand, select FMCG and realty shares were witnessing selling pressure.
Mid- and small-cap shares were also witnessing buying interest as Nifty Midcap 100 rose 0.65 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index advanced 0.5 per cent.
Sun Pharma was top Nifty gainer, the stock rose 5.2 per cent to Rs 678. UPL, IndusInd Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Axis Bank, Hindalco, Bharti Airtel, Dr Reddy's Labs, Wipro, ICICI Bank, ONGC, Divi's Labs, TCS, Titan and HDFC Bank also rose between 1.3-4 per cent.
On the flipside, Adani Ports, Bajaj Finance, Hindustan Unilever, SBI Life, Larsen & Toubro, Asian Paints, Grasim Industries and NTPC were among the notable losers.
The overall market breadth was positive as 1,750 shares were advancing while 1,066 were declining on the BSE.