Covid-19 depression swamps markets
Markets began the financial year with yet another bruising selloff on Wednesday as the global sentiment remained grim because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Reversing the previous session’s gains, the 30-share BSE barometer Sensex slumped 1203.18 points, or 4.08 per cent, to finish at 28265.31.
Similarly, the NSE Nifty tanked 343.95 points, or 4 per cent, to close at 8253.80.
Global equities skidded as weak factory data from Asia and a steady rise in coronavirus cases pointed to the tough road ahead for the world economy.
Dismal auto sales numbers and reports of India missing its fiscal deficit targets by a wide margin further sapped investor confidence here, traders said.
Tech Mahindra was the top loser in the Sensex pack, crashing 9.21 per cent, followed by Kotak Bank (8.81 per cent), TCS (6.23 per cent), Infosys (5.65 per cent), Axis Bank (5.50 per cent) and SBI (5.26 per cent).
All sectoral indices ended with losses. BSE IT, tech, bankex, telecom, finance, FMCG and power indices fell up to 5.58 per cent.
According to traders, domestic equities plunged in tandem with global stocks as no respite from the coronavirus pandemic seemed in sight.
Extensive lockdowns to contain the spread of the virus have severely hit business outlook, they said.
“The first day of the financial year started off on a negative note, impacted by the negative global markets and also domestic uncertainties with regards to banks’ stressed assets and auto numbers.
“FIIs have net sold around Rs 62,000 crore in equities in March and with virus infections increasing, markets are anticipating a worsening of the situation,” said Vinod Nair, head of research at Geojit Financial Services.
On the global front, Asian markets ended in the red after a slew of weak factory output data from countries such as South Korea and Japan. Bourses in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai plunged up to 4 per cent.
Benchmarks in Europe were also trading with significant losses.