Sensex, Nifty hit record highs on vaccine hopes

Mumbai, Nov 17, 2020, IANS

The key Indian equity indices hit fresh record highs on Tuesday tracking a positive global trend after pharma giant Moderna announced that its vaccine has shown more than 94 per cent effectiveness in preliminary data from the company's ongoing study.

Moderna on Monday said that its experimental vaccine is 94.5 per cent effective in preventing Covid-19, boosting hopes of the economy emerging from a year of pandemic-induced downturn.

Sensex crossed the 44,000 mark and touched a record high of 44,161.16 points.

Around 9.45 a.m., it was trading at 43,921.55, higher by 313.78 points or 0.65 per cent from its previous close of 43,637.98.

Nifty50 was trading at 12,855.75, higher by 75.50 points or 0.59 per cent from its previous close. It has recorded an all-time high of 12,934.05 points. Healthy buying was witnessed in banking, finance and metal stocks. The top gainers on the Sensex so far were Tata Steel, IndusInd Bank and HDFC Bank.

HCL Technologies, Bajaj Auto and Infosys were the major losers so far.

The announcement by Moderna led to a rally in the US stock market on Monday.

The announcement came just a week after Pfizer Inc had announced 90 per cent efficacy of its vaccine. Taken together, these two vaccines are firmly on course to seek emergency use authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration if results hold out in the final study results due soon.

Meanwhile, Shares of the state-run petroleum major Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (BPCL) fell nearly five per cent a day after the deadline for submitting bids for the strategic sale of the company ended.

Investor sentiments dampened as major energy giants including Reliance Industries, Saudi Aramco, BP gave the bidding process a miss and did not submit Expressions of Interest for the 52.98 per cent of the stake on sale.

Shares of BPCL on the BSE plunged 4.9 per cent to touch an intra-day low of Rs 392.35 per share.

At 10.54 a.m., it was at Rs 397.70, lower by 3.63 per cent from its previous close.

The government on Monday said that multiple EoIs have been received for divestment of Centre's stake in the company.

Sources, however, said that several global players did not pitch in for the stake sale. Total and Russia's Rosneft also did not bid for the stake sale.

The lack of interest among the major players comes on the back of the poor oil demand globally amid the pandemic and low oil prices.