Equity benchmarks continued their winning momentum for the third day on Thursday and jumped over 1.50 per cent, tracking an overall bullish trend in Asian equities.

On the political front, the BJP headed for a second straight win in politically crucial Uttar Pradesh and dominated the trends chart in three other states.

The 30-share BSE benchmark Sensex opened in the green and further zoomed 1,595.14 points or 2.91 per cent to 56,242.47 during early trade. However, it pared some of the early gains during the fag-end of trade amid weak European markets and recovery in oil prices. It finally settled at 55,464.39, higher by 817.06 points or 1.50 per cent.

Similarly, the NSE Nifty jumped 249.55 points or 1.53 per cent to close at 16,594.90.

From the 30-share Sensex pack, Hindustan Unilever Limited, Tata Steel, State Bank of India, Axis Bank, IndusInd Bank, Bajaj Finserv, Nestle and Maruti Suzuki India were the biggest gainers, jumping up to 5.17 per cent.

In contrast, Tech Mahindra, Dr Reddy's Laboratories and Tata Consultancy Services were the laggards.

"Indian market witnessed a strong recovery after a brutal fall thanks to some positive news flows on the Russia-Ukraine standoff that to rally in global equity markets and cool off in commodity prices. The outcome of state election results is also acting as a tailwind for the Indian equity market however, it has the impact of only one day and the main focus of the market will remain on the Russia-Ukraine issue because there are still uncertainties.

"US inflations numbers will be announced today and it will act as a critical factor in the upcoming US Fed meeting. Markets are likely to remain volatile till the Fed meeting," said Santosh Meena, Head of Research, Swastika Investmart Ltd.

Bourses in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Shanghai settled higher.

Stock exchanges in the US settled with significant gains on Wednesday.

European stock exchanges were trading lower.

In the previous trade, the BSE benchmark settled at 54,647.33, higher by 1,223.24 points or 2.29 per cent, notching up the biggest single-day gain since February 25.

The Nifty also climbed 331.90 points or 2.07 per cent to end at 16,345.35.

Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude jumped 4.91 per cent to USD 116.6 a barrel.

Foreign institutional investors continued their selling spree in Indian markets as they offloaded shares worth Rs 4,818.71 crore on a net basis on Wednesday, according to exchange data.

Rupee Gains 20 Paise To Close At 76.42 Against US Dollar

The rupee appreciated by 20 paise to close at 76.42 (provisional) against the US dollar on Thursday, supported by positive domestic equities and trends in state election results.

At the interbank forex market, the local unit opened at 76.27 against the greenback and witnessed an intra-day high of 76.07 and a low of 76.46.

The rupee finally finished at 76.42, registering a rise of 20 paise over its previous close.

On Wednesday, the rupee had appreciated 38 paise to close at 76.62 against the US dollar following a retreat in crude oil prices and rebound in domestic equities.

Counting of votes was underway on Thursday in five states where assembly polls were held recently -- Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa and Manipur.

The BJP is headed for a second straight win in politically crucial Uttar Pradesh and dominated the trends chart in three other states, while the Aam Aadmi Party readied for a landslide win in Punjab.

The rupee gained as risk appetite rebounded, while haven currencies slumped, said Dilip Parmar, Research Analyst, HDFC Securities.

Geopolitical risks have also begun to reverse course and commodities cooled off, and emerging market currencies and equities advanced.

In the near-term, the rupee is expected to consolidate in the range of 76 to 76.70, Parmar added.

Meanwhile, the dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a basket of six currencies, rose 0.13 per cent to 98.09.

Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, spurted 4.76 per cent to USD 116.43 per barrel.

On the domestic equity market front, the BSE Sensex ended 817.06 points or 1.50 per cent higher at 55,464.39, while the broader NSE Nifty surged 249.55 points or 1.53 per cent to 16,594.90.

Foreign institutional investors remained net sellers in the capital market on Wednesday as they offloaded shares worth Rs 4,818.71 crore, as per stock exchange data.

Gold Tumbles Rs 992; Silver Tanks Rs 1,949

Gold tumbled Rs 992 to Rs 52,635 per 10 grams in the national capital on Thursday reflecting a decline in international precious prices along with rupee appreciation, according to HDFC Securities.

In the previous trade, the precious metal finished at Rs 53,627 per 10 grams.

Silver also tanked Rs 1,949 to Rs 69,458 per kg, from Rs 71,407 per kg in the previous trade.

The rupee appreciated by 20 paise to close at 76.42 (provisional) against the US dollar on Thursday, supported by positive domestic equities and trends in state election results.

In the international market, gold was trading lower at USD 1,983 an ounce and silver was flat at USD 25.50 an ounce.

"Gold traded weak with spot prices at COMEX trading 0.30 per cent down at USD 1,983 per ounce on Thursday.

"Gold prices witnessed selling from Wednesday on easing worries over the Russia-Ukraine conflict with signs of possible diplomatic solution," said Tapan Patel, senior analyst (commodities) of HDFC Securities.

Navneet Damani, senior vice-president (commodities research) of Motilal Oswal Financial Services, said, "Gold witnessed a sharp fall after hovering almost near-record highs in the earlier session. Prices were getting support from the escalating geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine."

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