Despite Omicron threat, Markets edge up
Index heavyweights Reliance Ind, Airtel and TCS support benchmark indices; Investors remain cautious over Omicron variant
Mumbai: Benchmark indices made a positive start to the week on Monday following gains in RIL, bank and IT stocks, even as investors remained jittery over the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Governments across the world raced to impose fresh travel restrictions as cases of the new variant emerged in multiple countries. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has designated Omicron as a 'variant of concern', the health body's top category for worrying coronavirus variants, although South African health authorities said symptoms of the new strain were mild so far. No case of the Omicron variant has been detected in India yet. Stabilising after Friday's brutal sell-off, the 30-share BSE Sensex gained 153.43 points or 0.27 per cent to finish at 57,260.58 points. The index had tanked more than 500 points or over 1 per cent in opening trade in line with weak global cues. On similar lines, the broader NSE Nifty edged higher by 27.50 points or 0.16 per cent to 17,053.95 points.
"Domestic indices trimmed its early losses to trade modestly higher backed by IT and healthcare stocks, amid lingering worries over the emergence of the new COVID variant. Global markets traded mixed as investors were torn between buying on dips and the uncertainties over the impact of Omicron on economic recovery. However, the global market has factored well the near-term uncertainty limiting further downside. On the domestic front, the telecom sector was in focus as all sector majors reported a rate hike, signalling an end to the low tariff regime," said Vinod Nair, head (research) at Geojit Financial Services.
Ajit Mishra, VP - Research, Religare Broking, adds: "Markets are expected to remain volatile amid the prevailing uncertainty around the new Covid variant. Besides, on the domestic front, macroeconomic data like GDP numbers, core sector data and auto sales figures will further add to the volatility. We reiterate our cautious stance and suggest preferring hedged positions."
Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) remained net sellers in the capital market on Friday as they offloaded shares worth Rs 5,785.83 crore, as per exchange data.
Kotak Bank rose the most among Sensex scrips, spurting 2.92 per cent, after LIC received RBI approval to raise its stake in the private sector lender to nearly 10 per cent. Market heavyweight Reliance Industries jumped 1.26 per cent a day after its telecom arm Jio announced a hike in prepaid tariffs from the next month. Gains in HCL Tech, TCS, Titan, Bajaj Finance, Bajaj Finserv andTech Mahindra also helped Sensex close in the green. On the other hand, Sun Pharma, NTPC, Axis Bank, Nestle, Bajaj Auto, SBI and Dr Reddy's were among the major drags, dropping up to 2.03 per cent.