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Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Markets seen sluggish on rising covid concerns; TCS, Wipro, Vedanta in focus

  • Asian stocks followed Wall Street's sharp selloff on Thursday as concerns about rising coronavirus infections and new shutdowns in major US cities hosed down earlier investor enthusiasm about covid-19 vaccine developments

MUMBAI: Indian stock markets are likely to be sluggish on Thursday following weakness in global peers. Trends in SGX Nifty suggest a weak opening for Indian benchmark indices. On Wednesday the Sensex closed at 44,180.05, up 227.34 points or 0.52% and the Nifty ended at 12,938.25, up 64.05 points or 0.50%.

Asian stocks followed Wall Street's sharp selloff on Thursday as concerns about rising coronavirus infections and new shutdowns in major US cities hosed down earlier investor enthusiasm about covid-19 vaccine developments.

Bearish sentiment triggered a late-session retreat in stock markets on Wednesday after a surge in new covid-19 infections prompted New York City, which has the largest school district in the United States, to halt in-person learning starting from Thursday.

The news of the shutdowns overshadowed Pfizer Inc's announcement that its covid-19 vaccine was 95% effective and that the company would apply for emergency US authorization within days.

Forty-one US states have reported record daily increases in covid-19 cases in November, 20 have registered record daily deaths and 26 have reported new peaks in hospitalizations, according to a Reuters tally of public health data.

Despite upbeat vaccine developments, the prospect of roll-backs of reopenings and new lockdowns weighed on market participants. All 11 major sectors in the S&P 500 closed in negative territory, with energy shares suffering the biggest loss.

Back home, India's largest IT services firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on Wednesday said its shareholders have approved its up to 16,000 crore share buyback plan.

Wipro will be in focus as the IT services firm said it has fixed December 11 as the record date for its up to 9,500 crore share buyback programme.

Mining conglomerate Vedanta has put in a preliminary expression of interest (EoI) for buying the government''s stake in Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL), for which a major foreign player too is said to be in race. A special purpose vehicle floated by the BSE-listed Vedanta Ltd and its London-based parent Vedanta Resources submitted an EoI before the close of deadline on 16 November.

Aviation stocks will be in focus as Indian airlines carried 5.27 million passengers in October, down 57% year-on-year, as a relentless rise in covid cases has kept appetite for travel in, according to data released by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

Meanwhile, tThe dollar moved off earlier lows following better-than-expected US housing data, with the greenback still on pace for its fifth straight decline as the Pfizer news gave investors an appetite for some risk taking.

The dollar index fell 0.043%, with the euro down 0.05% to $1.1855.

US Treasury yields reversed early declines on optimism about a potential vaccine and after a weak 20-year bond auction diminished the appeal of the safe-haven debt. Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 1/32 in price to yield 0.875%, from 0.872% late on Tuesday.

Oil prices advanced as the vaccine news buoyed investor appetite, along with hopes OPEC and its allies will delay a planned increase in oil output.

(Reuters contributed to the story)

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