Domestic stock markets soared nearly 2 per cent on Thursday on hopes of a faster recovery than anticipated earlier from the coronavirus pandemic-triggered slowdown. The government's move to open movie theatres along with rising auto sales boosted investors' sentiment. The S&P BSE Sensex index added 670.96 points to touch 38,738.89 at the strongest level during the session, whereas the broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark jumped to as high as 11,428.60, up 181.05 points from its previous close. (Track Sensex, Nifty)
The indices retained most of their intraday gains by the end of the session, with the Sensex settling 629.12 points higher at 38,697.05 and the Nifty shutting shop up 169.40 points at 11,416.95.
HDFC Bank, HDFC and ICICI Bank were the biggest contributors (more than 250 points) to the gain in Sensex.
The government on Wednesday permitted states to reopen movie theatres at 50 per cent capacity, and said schools and other educational institutions could also restart in a phased manner.
The Nifty Media index - which tracks the performance of 10 media and entertainment stocks - bounced 2.80 per cent, led by gains in cinema chains PVR and INOX Leisure, which ended 7.81 per cent and 6.14 per cent higher after news that the government was lifting restrictions.
"The announcement of Unlock 5.0 guidelines gave the markets a temporary boost... Positive data indicating resumption and expansion in the pace of the country's factory output also supported the markets," Vinod Nair, head of research at Kochi-based Geojit Financial Services, told NDTV.
Factory activity in the country likely picked up at its fastest pace in more than eight years in September, according to the findings of a survey by IHS Markit, a London-based provider of critical information.
The Nifty Bank Index - comprising stocks of 12 major lenders in the country - ended 3.70 per cent higher for the day, having risen as much as 3.92 per cent during the session, led by ICICI Bank and IndusInd Bank.
The country's current account surplus increased to a record $19.8 billion in April-June, as its trade deficit narrowed sharply, according to Reserve Bank of India data released on the same day.
Bucking the trend, Punjab National Bank shares fell 1.93 per cent to Rs 28 apiece on the BSE, a day after the state-run lender reported a fraud of Rs 1,203.26 crore to the Reserve Bank of India. PNB said it had already made provisions of Rs. 215.21 crore towards the same, as per prescribed norms.
Analysts awaited an update on the RBI's bi-monthly policy review, after the central bank said on Monday it was postponing its meeting what was scheduled between September 29 and October 1.
Maruti Suzuki and Bajaj Auto, closing 0.76 per cent and 3.69 per cent higher respectively, led gains in the automobile space, after the two companies reported a significant increase in sales last month.
"Rising cases of (COVID-19) infections, seemingly high valuations and geopolitical tensions are still causes for worry for the markets. Next week, cues will again mainly depend on how global markets pan out this week," Mr Nair added.
The domestic markets will remain shut on Friday, October 2, for Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti holiday. The Supreme Court will hear a case on waiving interest rates on loans under a moratorium on October 5.