Sensex plunges 3,400 points; Nifty below 8,000-level as govts, businesses adapt to prolonged quarantines

Sensex was trading 3419.95 points 11.43 percent down at 26,496.01 while the broader Nifty was down 998.05 points or 11.41 percent at 7,747.40 at around 11.45 AM.

FP Staff March 23, 2020 12:20:15 IST
Sensex plunges 3,400 points; Nifty below 8,000-level as govts, businesses adapt to prolonged quarantines

The equity benchmark indices nosedived in the early trade on in the morning trade on Monday as governments and businesses adapt to prolonged quarantines during the coronavirus pandemic.

The trading on Dalal Street was halted for 45 minutes after BSE Sensex touched 10 percent lower circuit soon after the opening session.

After resuming the trading, Sensex continued its free-fall after a brief recovery.

Sensex plunges 3400 points Nifty below 8000level as govts businesses adapt to prolonged quarantines

Representational image. News18

Sensex was trading 3419.95 points 11.43 percent down at 26,496.01 while the broader Nifty was down 998.05 points or 11.41 percent at 7,747.40 at around 11.45 AM.

In the Sensex pack, Axis Bank is the top loser which tanked nearly 20 percent. Other major losers included ICICI Bank, IndusInd Bank, Bajaj Finance, Hero MotoCorp, Ulta Cement, Mahindra & Mahindra, Maruti and SBI.

All sectoral indices at the National Stock Exchange (NSE) were deep in the red Nifty private bank down by 11.2 percent, realty by 10.9 percent, financial service by 10.1 percent and auto by 9.8 percent.

Among stocks, private sector lender Axis Bank lost by nearly 15 percent to Rs 363.70 per share. IndusInd Bank slipped by 14.4 percent, ICICI Bank by 13.1 percent while Bajaj Finance and Bajaj Finserv dropped by 13.7 percent and 12.4 percent respectively.

The other prominent losers were Adani Ports which ticked down by 15 percent, UltraTech Cement and Maruti.

Rupee slipped further by 95 paise to 76.15

Amid a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in the country and heavy selling in domestic equities, the rupee plunged further.

Forex traders said market participants are concerned that the sharp rise in coronavirus cases, with nearly 400 cases in the country, could weigh on the economy.

The rupee which opened on a weak note at 75.90 at the interbank forex market, lost further ground and touched a low of 76.15 against the US dollar, registering a decline of over 95 paise over its last close. The local unit had settled at 75.20 against the US dollar on Friday.

Traders said there is a sense of anxiety among investors as they see the global, as well as domestic economy, plunging into a deep crisis due to coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic that has killed over 14,000 and sickened lakhs of people around the globe.

Asian shares crumble as more nations shut for business

Asian shares sank on Monday as a rising tide of national lockdowns threatened to overwhelm policymakers’ frantic efforts to cushion what is likely to be a deep global recession.

In a foretaste of the pain to come, E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 dived 5 percent at the open to be limit down, while EUROSTOXXX 50 futures tumbled 6.4 percent.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 3.8 percent, with New Zealand’s market shedding a record 10 percent as the government closed all non-essential businesses.

Shanghai blue chips dropped 2.3 percent, though Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.8 percent aided perhaps by expectations of more aggressive asset buying by the Bank of Japan.

There was little to cheer in coronavirus news as the global death toll exceeded over 14,000 with more than 300,000 infections.

Airlines cancelled more flights as Australia and New Zealand advised against non-essential domestic travel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) halted flights for two weeks and Singapore and Taiwan banned foreign transit passengers.

Nearly one in three Americans were ordered to stay home on Sunday to slow the spread of the disease, while Italy banned internal travel as deaths there reached 5,476.

US President Donald Trump went on TV to approve disaster deceleration requests from New York and Washington, while St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard warned unemployment could reach 30 percent unless more was done fiscally.

Analysts are dreading data on weekly US jobless claims due on Thursday amid forecasts they could balloon by 750,000, and maybe by more than a million.

US stocks have already fallen more than 30 percent from their mid-February peak and even the safest areas of the bond market are experiencing liquidity stress as distressed funds are forced to sell good assets to cover positions gone bad.

--With inputs from agencies

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