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The markets opened on a negative note. The Sensex declined over 300 points in early trade on Friday, tracking losses in index majors HDFC twins, ICICI Bank and Infosys amid concerns that the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic may derail the economic recovery of the country.

The 30-share BSE index was trading 316.81 points or 0.66 per cent lower at 47,763.86. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty dropped 75.45 points or 0.52 per cent to 14,330.70.

ICICI Bank was the top loser in the Sensex pack, shedding around 2 per cent, followed by HDFC twins, Bajaj Finance, HUL, SBI, M&M and Kotak Bank.

On the other hand, PowerGrid, Asian Paints, Titan, HCL Tech, Dr Reddy’s and UltraTech Cement were among the gainers.

At 9:18 am, the Sensex was down 217 points at 47,864 while the Nifty fell 75 points to 14,331. Trends on SGX Nifty indicate a negative opening for the index with a 68 points loss. The Nifty futures were trading at 14,333 on the Singaporean Exchange.

Asian markets decline

Asian markets declined following an overnight drop on Wall Street. THe Nikkei 225 fell 1.26 percent in early trade while the Topix index shed 0.88 percent. South Korea's Kospi dipped 0.92 percent. Shares in Australia also edged lower as the S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.14 percent.

Equity markets across the world fell on Thursday weighed by Wall Street after reports that the Biden administration will propose a sharp increase to capital gains tax, while the dollar index rose as the Euro and Pound gave back recent gains.

On the other hand, PowerGrid, Asian Paints, Titan, HCL Tech, Dr Reddy’s and UltraTech Cement were among the gainers.

In the previous session, Sensex ended 374.87 points or 0.79 per cent higher at 48,080.67, and Nifty jumped 109.75 points or 0.77 per cent to 14,406.15.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers in the capital market as they offloaded shares worth Rs 909.56 crore on Thursday, according to provisional exchange data.

"Sharp rise in COVID-19 cases across the country and enhanced mobility restriction imposed by a number of states are expected to remain as key overhangs for the market," said Binod Modi, Head Strategy at Reliance Securities.

This has started posing a threat to corporate earnings recovery, he said, adding that the possibility of supply disruption and increased COVID-19 cases in the hinterland area can further hurt economic momentum.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on April 22 said commercial banks can pay up to 50 percent of what they could pre-COVID on equity shares from the profits for the financial year ended March 31, 2021.

For FY20, the RBI had asked banks not to make any dividend payment on equity shares from the profits in view of the ongoing stress and heightened uncertainty on account of COVID-19. This was asked to make sure banks continue to conserve capital to support the economy and absorb losses. The rule has been relaxed for FY21.

Fitch Ratings affirm BBB- rating

Fitch Ratings on Thursday affirmed ''BBB-'' sovereign rating for India, saying a recent surge in coronavirus cases may delay GDP recovery, but it won't derail the economy.

It maintained a negative outlook for the rating reflecting "lingering uncertainty around the debt trajectory".

"We forecast a 12.8 percent recovery in GDP in the fiscal year ending March 2022 (FY22), moderating to 5.8 percent in FY23, from an estimated contraction of 7.5 per cent in FY21," it said.

"However, a recent surge in coronavirus cases poses increasing downside risks to the FY22 outlook. This second wave of virus cases may delay the recovery, but it is unlikely in Fitch''s view to derail it."

It expected pandemic-related restrictions to remain localised and less stringent than the national lockdown imposed in 2020, and the vaccine rollout has been stepped up.

HCL Tech quarterly results today

HCL Technologies, Indiabulls Real Estate, Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services, Aditya Birla Money, GNA Axles, Integrated Capital Services, Oriental Hotels, and Wendt (India), among 16 other firms will release their quarter earnings today.

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