Markets sulk during yuletide
Covid concerns trod over the Christmas spirit at Dalal Street on Friday as slowdown worries and fears of another wave of the virus saw the Sensex plummeting 981 points to end below the 60000 mark. It was the fourth straight day of losses for equity investors during which they lost over Rs 15 lakh crore.
The worst news was coming from China with latest reports saying the country is reporting 3.7 crore Covid cases in a single day. Countries such as the US, Japan, Korea and Brazil have also seen a spike in the number of people infected by the virus.
Though the number of cases are much less in India, the present trend could affect at least certain industries such as travel & tourism and entertainment.
Amid fears of reduced economic activity derailing the global recovery, fresh data from the US showed its GDP growing above expectations at an annualised rate of 3.2 per cent for the quarter ended September. Another report showed 216,000 people filing for unemployment benefits, which was lower than the estimate.
Both the data have fanned fears that the US Fed will persist with its rate hikes.
The 30-share BSE Sensex, which opened sharply lower at 60205.56 crashed 1060.66 points and bottomed out to 59765.56 points. It settled 980.93 points or 1.61 per cent lower at 59845.29.
On similar lines, the broader NSE Nifty dropped 320.55 points or 1.77 per cent to end at 17806.80.
All Sensex stocks, barring Titan, closed in the red. The losers were led by Tata Steel (down nearly 5 per cent) while others such as Tata Motors, SBI, Bajaj Finserv, Reliance Industries, Wipro, IndusInd Bank, Maruti Suzuki and L&T lost up to 4.07 per cent. Investors have now lost Rs 15.78 lakh crore in four sessions, with the market capitalisation of BSE-listed companies standing at Rs 272 lakh crore.
The broader market also tanked with the BSE smallcap index falling 4.11 per cent and the midcap index sliding 3.40 per cent. All sectoral indices ended in the negative territory, with services tanking 5.43 per cent, followed by utilities (5.17 per cent), power (4.89 per cent), metal (3.93 per cent), commodities (3.92 per cent), energy (3.82 per cent), oil & gas (3.71 per cent) and industrials (3.26 per cent).
“The markets were caught in frenzied selling as weak global cues and bearish external factors pushed both the key indices below the psychological levels,” Amol Athawale, deputy vice-president — technical research at Kotak Securities Ltd, said.
“Besides a spurt in Covid cases in China and Japan, the better-than-expected US third quarter GDP numbers further raised concerns that the Fed will go for more rate hikes to tame inflation, which further accentuated selling pressure on the markets,” he said.
The weakness in stocks also spread to the rupee which closed lower at 82.86 against the previous close of 82.79 against the dollar.