Indian benchmark equity indices rebounded sharply and ended higher on Wednesday, led by heavyweights HDFC Bank and Reliance Industries after Goldman Sachs set a Street-high target price. Oil marketing companies also helped boost sentiment as a drop in crude oil prices aided hopes of sustained refining margins.

The 30-share BSE benchmark Sensex advanced 526 points or 0.73% to settle at 72,996. The broader NSE Nifty gained 119 points or 0.54% to end at 22,124.

The broader, more domestically focused small and midcaps gained 1% and 0.1%, respectively, on the day. But they have dropped 4.5% and 0.8%, respectively, so far in March, while the Nifty has risen 0.6%.

Nifty Oil & Gas rose 0.5%, boosted by a 3.5% rise in Reliance Industries to Rs 2,985.

ABB India, which provides technology automation products and services, closed 5.7% higher after UBS raised its price target to Rs 7,550, citing sustainable earnings and growth in its electrification business.

Smallcap pharma firm Wockhardt closed in a 5% upper circuit after the company said it raised Rs 480 crore via Qualified Institutional Placement (QIP) of shares.The market capitalisation of all listed companies on BSE increased by Rs 1.13 lakh crore to Rs 383.7 lakh crore. Meanwhile, the market breadth was skewed in favour of the bears. About 2,311 stocks declined, 1,526 gained, and 112 remained unchanged on the BSE.

Expert Views

“Stock-specific actions and positive undercurrents due to a healthy economic growth forecast led the market towards a positive closure. However, due to the holiday-led truncated week, investors are now focusing on US GDP data on Thursday and next week’s RBI policy announcement to gauge market direction,” said Vinod Nair, head of research, Geojit Financial Services.

Aditya Gaggar, director of Progressive Shares, said, “The index has formed an Inverted Head & Shoulder formation and now awaiting a breakout for the target of 22,640 while on the lower side, 21,900 will continue to act as a strong support.”

Global Markets

Asian shares were mixed on Wednesday after Wall Street slipped a bit further from its record highs. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lost 1.4% and the Shanghai Composite index was down 1.3%. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.9% and the S&P/ASX 200 added 0.5%.

European stocks struggled for direction on Wednesday after closing at a record high in the previous session as investors waited for more economic data due later this week, while H&M shares surged following upbeat quarterly results. The pan-European STOXX 600 edged 0.1% lower.

Oil Falls

Oil prices fell for a second day, dropping over 1% on Wednesday on surging US stockpiles and signs that the OPEC+ producer group is unlikely to change its output policy at a technical meeting next week.

Brent crude futures for May dropped 97 cents, or 1.12%, to $85.28 a barrel, while the more actively traded June contract fell by 92 cents, or 1.07%, to $84.71. The May contract expires on Thursday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for May delivery fell 93 cents, or 1.14%, to $80.69.

Rupee Weakens

The Indian rupee dropped to a record low on Wednesday, pressured by strong dollar demand from importers and local oil companies, while likely intervention from the Reserve Bank of India prevented further losses in the local unit.

The rupee fell to an intra-day low of 83.45, marking the currency’s weakest level on record. It was last quoted at 83.3750 against the US dollar, down 0.1% on the day.

(With inputs from agencies)


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