Domestic share markets turned flat after soaring to record highs on Wednesday amid renewed concerns about recovery from the COVID-19-caused slowdown, a day after the World Bank said India’s economy is estimated to contract 9.6 per cent in the current financial year. The 30-scrip index jumped 178.87 points, or 0.37 per cent, to touch 48,616.66 in the first few minutes of trade, and the broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark added 44.65 points (0.31 per cent) to 14,244.15 — both all-time highs. Gains across financial, energy and metal shares were offset by losses in IT, consumer goods and pharmaceutical shares.
At 10:14 pm, the Sensex traded 88.23 points, or 0.18 per cent, lower at 48,349.55 while the Nifty was down 6.75 point, or 0.05 per cent, at 14,192.30.
ITC, Reliance Industries, Hindustan Unilever, HDFC Life and Eicher Motors, trading between 0.54 per cent and 1.58 per cent lower, were the worst hit among 19 laggards in the Nifty basket of 50 shares.
On the other hand, GAIL, ONGC, Titan, State Bank of India and Indian Oil, up 1.72-3.63 per cent each, were the top gainers in the index.
The World Bank’s projection for India reflected a sharp drop in household spending and private investment, with the economy expected to expand 5.4 per cent in 2021.
In its Global Economic Prospects report, the World Bank said that the informal sector — which accounts for four-fifths of employment — has been subject to severe income losses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, global stock prices slipped on Wednesday as investors braced for the prospect that Democrats could win both races in a US Senate run-off election in Georgia, handing them control of the crucial chamber.
MSCI’s index of Asian-Pacific excluding Japan erased earlier gains to stand almost flat, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 benchmark declined 0.40 per cent.
The E-Mini S&P 500 futures fell 0.43 per cent, indicating a negative start for Wall Street on Wednesday, on fears Democrats could pursue tighter regulations on big tech firms.
Along with their narrow majority in the House of Representatives, a ‘blue sweep’ of Congress could usher in larger fiscal stimulus and pave the way for President-elect Joe Biden to push through greater corporate regulation and higher taxes.
Democrat candidates took early leads in the twin Georgia Senate races, though the outcome may remain in doubt for days if the margins are razor-thin.