Indian equity benchmarks reversed course to rally on Monday, stalling a four-day losing streak, even as stocks and currencies were trading mixed in Asia as fears over China's ability to adapt after abandoning its Covid Zero policy quelled the appetite for risk-taking.
Bouncing back from four days of losses and a weaker opening, the 30-share BSE Sensex index was last trading 653.32 points higher at 60,498.61, and the broader NSE Nifty-50 index rose 186 points to 17,992.80, despite cautious trading and reduced liquidity with many markets closed for holidays.
Tata Steel, State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, UltraTech Cement, IndusInd Bank, Mahindra & Mahindra, HDFC, and Power Grid were the top gainers from the Sensex pack.
Only Bharti Airtel continued to lag behind.
"After last week's sell-off, markets are likely to consolidate in early trades Monday, amid gains in other Asian indices. However, the undertone is likely to remain cautious with bouts of intra-day volatility," said Prashanth Tapse, Senior Vice President for Research at Mehta Equities.
"Relentless cascade of COVID-19 news is likely to make any investment decision challenging in the near term, as markets fear the risk of new virus spread could bring back stricter lockdowns," he added.
As investors analysed data showing that US inflation is continuing to decline and the Federal Reserve's rate hikes are having the desired effect, shares on Wall Street concluded Friday's session with gains.
Asian markets benefited somewhat from this, but the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 still had their third consecutive weeks of losses.
"The US is enjoying ‘Christmas day' today and UK/Europe is enjoying ‘Boxing Day'. S&P is on track for a more than 6 per cent decline this month, its fourth worst December on record as US value funds and passive equities had record weekly net outflows," said Amit Pabari, Managing Director of CR Forex Advisors.
2022 as a year has been the worst annual performance for global stocks in more than ten years. After a two-year liquidity-fuelled bull run, global stocks faced several moments of reckoning in 2022 as Russia marched into Ukraine, the US Federal Reserve came out all guns blazing in its war against inflation and a cataclysm engulfed global financial markets.
“The Fed has been telling us they are going to tighten financial conditions until a recession or something ‘breaks',” Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management, wrote in a note. “This is not a great place to own speculative assets, especially the long-duration variety telling me in times like this, cash itself is the best at the money put.”
Still, the Sensex has outperformed its peers in a tough year, with domestic investors supporting the benchmark through crisis after crisis this year.