Sensex plummets over 1200 points, Nifty below 8,700-mark in afternoon trade as coronavirus pandemic fears linger; IndusInd Bank tanks nearly 27%

Continuing the free-fall, the equity benchmark indices extended the losses in the afternoon trade on Wednesday as worries about coronavirus pandemic eclipsed hopes that broad policy will easily curb the economic impact of the outbreak.

Though the market was higher in the opening trade, following healthy gains seen in US markets on Tuesday, it gave up the gains soon.

The BSE Sensex plunged 1216.08 points or 3.98 percent to 29,363.01 while the broader Nifty tanked 333.50 points or 3.72 percent to 8,633.55 at around 12.45 PM.

IndusInd Bank was the top loser (6.74 percent) in the Sensex pack followed by Titan (6.13 percent), Kotak Bank (5.48 percent), Bajaj Finance (5.31 percent), Axis Bank (4.79 percent) and Asian Paints (4.86 percent).

Bharti Airtel, SunPharma, Infosys, Reliance and Hindustan Unilever were the gainers.

Most sectoral indices at the National Stock Exchange were in the red with Nifty private bank and realty down by 1.5 percent each.

 Sensex plummets over 1200 points, Nifty below 8,700-mark in afternoon trade as coronavirus pandemic fears linger; IndusInd Bank tanks nearly 27%

Representational image. News18

Nifty financial service dipped by 2.2 percent, auto by 1.4 percent and FMCG by 0.09 percent.

Among stocks, IndusInd Bank dropped by 5.28 percent to Rs 572.25 per share while Axis Bank traded lower by 5.5 percent, Kotak Mahindra Bank by 3.9 percent and ICICI Bank by 3.5 percent.

The other prominent losers were Bajaj Finance, Dr Reddy's, Titan, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hero MotoCorp.

But Yes Bank continued its upward swing by 26.7 percent to Rs 74.35 per share as it prepared to resume operations in the evening after the moratorium on private sector lender is lifted.

The other prominent winners were Sun Pharma, Vedanta and Infosys.

Rupee rises 32 paise to 73.92 in early trade 

The rupee appreciated by 32 paise to 73.92 against the US dollar in early trade on Wednesday tracking positive opening in domestic equities.

At the interbank foreign exchange, the rupee opened at 73.98, then gained further ground and touched a high of 73.92 against the US dollar, registering a rise of 32 paise over its previous close.

On Tuesday, rupee had settled at 74.24 against the greenback. Traders said investor sentiments improved after the Reserve Bank on Monday hinted at a rate cut at the next Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meet on 3 April and announced more liquidity enhancing measures.

Global stocks drop as investors shun risk on coronavirus fears

US stock futures and several Asian shares fell in choppy trade on Wednesday, as worries about the coronavirus pandemic eclipsed hopes broad policy support would combat the economic fallout of the outbreak.

Most traditional safe-haven assets were also under pressure as battered investors looked to unwind their damaged positions, leading to wide discrepancies between various markets.

In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dipped 0.3 percent, led by a 4.9 percent fall in Australia while Japan’s Nikkei gained 1.6 percent.

US stock futures fell 3 percent in Asia, a day after the S&P 500 rose 6 percent and Dow Jones rose 5.2 percent or 1,049 points.

“A rise of 1,000 points in Dow is something you see only during a financial crisis. It is not a good sign,” said Tomoaki Shishido, senior fixed income strategist at Nomura Securities.

“A rise of 100 points would much better for the economy.”

Wild swings in markets imply the capacity of various players, from speculators to brokerages, to absorb risks has been tormented, analysts say.

The increase in the S&P 500 futures the previous day, still down more than 10 percent so far this week, came as policymakers cobbled together packages to counter the impact of the virus.

The Trump administration on Tuesday unveiled a $1 trillion stimulus package that could deliver $1,000 cheques to Americans within two weeks to buttress an economy hit by coronavirus while many other governments look to fiscal stimulus.

“That would be bigger than a $787 billion package the Obama administration came up with after the Lehman crisis, so in terms of size it is quite big,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management.

“Yet stock markets will likely remain capped by worries about the spreading coronavirus,” he said.

Britain unveiled a 330 billion pounds ($400 billion) rescue package for businesses threatened with collapse while France is to pump 45 billion euros ($50 billion) of crisis measures into its economy to help companies and workers.

Still, forecasters at banks are projecting a steep economic contraction in at least the second quarter as governments take draconian measures to combat the virus, shutting restaurants, closing schools and calling on people to stay home.

The US Federal Reserve stepped in again on Tuesday to ease funding stress among corporates by reopening its Commercial Paper Funding Facility to underwrite short-term corporate loans.

Oil steadies after testing new lows

Oil prices steadied on Wednesday after slipping to new four-year lows, sapped by fears for fuel demand and the global economy amid travel and social lockdowns triggered by the coronavirus epidemic.

Brent crude was up by 34 cents, or 1.2 percent, at $29.07 a barrel, after falling earlier to $28.40, the lowest since early 2016. The international benchmark fell 4.3 percent on Tuesday.

US crude was up by 13 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $27.08 a barrel, after falling to as low as $26.20, also the lowest in four years. West Texas Intermediate fell 6 percent on Tuesday.

-- With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Mar 18, 2020 12:54:48 IST