India Stocks Swing as Investors Weigh Rising Virus Cases, China Clash

India stocks rose as investors looked beyond the surge in new coronavirus cases and political tensions with China.

The S&P BSE Sensex climbed 2.1% in Mumbai, after falling as much as 0.4% earlier in the session. The NSE Nifty 50 Index climbed by a similar magnitude. HDFC Bank Ltd. provided the biggest boost to both gauges.

The nation’s stocks got a boost in the afternoon after news that Chinese virus expert said the fresh Beijing outbreak has been contained. The headline also initially pushed S&P 500 futures and European stocks into the green.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the nation will defend its sovereignty after clashes along its contested border with China led to the deaths of at least 20 soldiers.

“Border tensions and the Covid rate not flattening are the two factors we’ve to live with for some time,” said Sanjiv Bhasin, a strategist at IIFL Securities Ltd. in Mumbai. “All declines for the week will be opportunities to buy for the smart money, which is looking beyond one-off events like pandemic and this short term escalation of tensions.”

Fitch Ratings moved the nation’s outlook to negative, citing in a statement the weakened economic growth outlook and a high public-debt burden.

The yield on the most traded 6.45% 2029 bond fell three basis points to 5.98% while the rupee was steady at 76.1450 per U.S. dollar.

The Numbers

  • Seventeen of 19 industry sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. advanced, led by a measure of banks
    • Reliance Industries added 2.5% to close at a record while Bajaj Finance Ltd. had the largest gain on the Sensex rising 5.5%
    • Hindustan Unilever Ltd. was the biggest drag on the index, declining 0.6% while Oil & Natural Gas Corp Ltd. had the biggest drop, falling 0.7%

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