Domestic stock markets started Wednesday's session on a volatile note amid weakness across global equities, as rising COVID-19 cases in the US and Europe kept investors cautious. The S&P BSE Sensex index gained 142.25 points - or 0.35 per cent - to touch the 40,664.35 mark at the strongest level of the day, having dropped to as low as 40,400 earlier. The broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark fluctuated within a range of 68 points, between 11,858.30 and 11,929.40, as against its previous close of 11,889.40. Gains in automobile, IT and pharmaceutical shares were offset by losses in select financial and metal shares.
At 9:38 am, the Sensex traded 40.01 points - or 0.10 per cent - higher at 40,562.11, while the Nifty was up 24.75 points - or 0.21 per cent - at 11,914.15.
Bharti Airtel shares jumped as much as 10 per cent to Rs 476.30 apiece on the BSE, surging a day after the telecom major reported its highest quarterly revenue ever, boosted by higher tariffs and a rise in data usage from a coronavirus-fuelled shift to remote working.
Equity markets elsewhere in Asia slipped amid increasing COVID-19 infections in the US and Europe, while uncertainty over next week's US elections dampened investor sentiment.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan was last seen trading 0.15 per cent lower, while Japan's Nikkei 225 benchmark was down 0.6 per cent.
The US, Russia, France and other countries have registered record numbers of infections in recent days, and European governments have introduced new curbs to try to rein in the fast-growing outbreaks.
Data on Tuesday showed consumer confidence in the world's largest economy unexpectedly fell in October, although other economic figures were mostly positive, with orders for key capital goods hitting a six-year high.