Sensex up 180 points, Nifty opens above 12,000; Yes Bank, IndusInd Bank, Britannia, Tata Motors gain

Mumbai: Benchmark equity indices on Friday (January 31) opened on a positive note with the Sensex up 130.98 points or 0.32% at 41044.80, and the broader Nifty is also up 36.70 points or 0.30% at 12072.50. Among major gainers on the indices include Yes Bank, IndusInd Bank, Britannia, Tata Motors, and Kotak Mahindra Bank, while Wipro, Power Grid, BPCL, ONGC, and ICICI Bank are top losers.

On Thursday, equities resumed their downward spiral as concerns over the China coronavirus outbreak sapped risk appetite amid expiry of January derivatives contracts. After swinging over 550 points during the day, the 30-share BSE Sensex settled 284.84 points, or 0.69 per cent, lower at 40,913.82 after hitting an intra-day low of 40,829.91 and a high of 41,380.14. The broader NSE Nifty, however, closed 93.70 points, or 0.77 per cent, down at 12,035.80.

Meanwhile, Asian share markets were fighting to stabilise at the end of a punishing week as investors clutched at hopes China could contain the coronavirus, even as headlines spoke of more cases and more deaths.

MSCI`s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged up 0.4%, but was still down 3.8% on the week so far. Its 2.3% dive on Thursday had been the sharpest one-day loss in six months.

Japan`s Nikkei bounced 1.8%, recouping half of its weekly loss. E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 firmed 0.2%, having rebounded late Thursday to end up 0.5%.

Wall Street quickly recouped its losses and ended higher in the wake of the WHO comments. The Dow finished up 0.43%, while the S&P 500 gained 0.31% and the Nasdaq 0.26%. After the bell, NASDAQ futures pushed 1.3% higher on the Amazon results.

Still, the flow of news on the virus remained bleak with China`s Hubei province reporting deaths from the disease had risen by 42 to 204 as of the end of January 30.

The drumbeat of bad news kept safe-haven bonds well bid, with yields on US 10-year Treasury notes down 8 basis points for the week so far and near four-month lows.

The yield curve between three-month bills and 10-year notes had also inverted twice this week, a bearish economic signal.

In currencies, the star performer was sterling which jumped after the Bank of England confounded market expectations by not cutting interest rates on Thursday.

The pound was last at $1.3100, a surprisingly steady performance given this is the day the UK officially leaves the European Union.

The dollar took a slight knock overnight when data showed the US economy grew at its slowest annual pace in three years in 2019 and personal consumption weakened sharply.

It was a shade firmer on the yen at 109.07, while the euro was steady at $1.1030. Against a basket of currencies, the dollar was steady at 97.858. The dollar has fared much better against emerging market currencies as investors ran from risk.

Spot gold was almost unchanged for the week at $1,571.20 per ounce, having failed to get much of a safe-haven bid as a range of other commodities, from copper to iron ore, were hammered by worries about Chinese demand.

Oil bounced on short-covering, having hit its lowest in three months as the global spread of the coronavirus threatened to curb demand for fuel. US crude regained $1.08 to $53.22 a barrel, while Brent crude futures rose $1.01 to $59.30 a barrel.