Sensex ends marginally higher; Nifty stays below 14,700

Mumbai: Equity benchmark Sensex ended marginally higher after a choppy session on Friday as concerns over the economic impact of the second wave of COVID-19 and pace of vaccination weighed on investor sentiment.

While the 30-share BSE index ended 41.75 points or 0.09 per cent higher at 48,732.55, the broader NSE Nifty fell 18.70 points or 0.13 per cent to 14,677.80.

Asian Paints was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rallying over 8 per cent, followed by ITC, Nestle India, L&T, HUL and Reliance Industries.

On the other hand, IndusInd Bank, M&M, Dr Reddy’s, SBI and NTPC were among the laggards.

“Indian equity markets remained largely range bound over the last week. The COVID situation in India is no doubt grim and hence the health issue is something that could keep markets volatile in the near term,” said Shibani Kurian, Senior EVP & Head- Equity Research, Kotak Mahindra AMC.

Going forward, market will likely track the pace of vaccinations, trajectory of active cases curve and management commentary of companies. Rollback of localised lockdowns and trend of inflation in many global commodities like crude oil and steel will be other key factors to watch out for, she noted.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul ended on a positive note. Stock exchanges in Europe were also trading with gains in mid-session deals.

Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.92 per cent higher at USD 67.67 per barrel. (agencies)