Indian equity markets opened higher on Thursday ahead of the expiry of March month derivative contracts.As of 9:50 am, the Sensex was up 632 points or 2.75% at 29,320.67 while the Nifty50 index rose 2.44% or 203.35 points to 8,521.20. Gains in the market were led by IT stocks. While overnight gains in the US markets boosted sentiments, analysts say short covering in beaten-down stocks ahead of the derivative expiry may keep markets higher today.
Nifty IT, the IT sub-index of NSE, rose 2.7% to be the top sectoral gainer. Banking, pharma were the other major gainers in the market. Among Nifty stocks, IndusInd Bank was the top gainer, up 10% followed by Axis Bank and Infosys which rose 6.72% and 5.02% respectively. Bharti Infratel, Tech Mahindra, HDFC, UPL, Sun Pharma, Asian Paints, Cipla, ICICI Bank were the other prominent gainers in the Nifty rising between 1.96%-4.47%.
Meanwhile, Grasim was the top loser in Nifty, down 3.84% followed by Yes Bank and IOC, which fell 3.55% and 2.95% respectively. Maruti Suzuki, JSW Steel, ONGC, Kotak Mahindra Bank were the other major losers in the Nifty. India VIX or the fear gauge fell one per cent to 76.79.
The Indian rupee fell 5 paise against the dollar to trade at 75.82 as compared to the previous closing of 75.88.
Elsewhere, other Asian markets were mixed on Thursday after a two-day rally as investors were also looking anxiously at Washington, where a gargantuan stimulus package for the world's top economy was being held up by lawmakers wrangling over details. Japan's Nikkei was down 3.12%, Strait Times fell 0.36% while Korea's Kospi was up 0.95% and Hang Seng edged higher by 0.06%. Overnight, US stock indices closed higher except Nasdaq, which fell 0.45%. Dow Jones rallied 2.39% while S&P 500 index rose 1.15%.