Sensex plunges over 900 points, Nifty below 9,000-mark in afternoon trade; ICICI Bank, Bajaj Finance among top losers

Power Grid was the major gainer in the Sensex pack at 7.33 percent followed by Sun Pharma (6.81 percent) HCL Tech (5.48 percent) and Tata Steel (4.85 percent).

FP Staff March 17, 2020 10:43:14 IST
Sensex plunges over 900 points, Nifty below 9,000-mark in afternoon trade; ICICI Bank, Bajaj Finance among top losers

Equity indices slipped into red in the afternoon shedding the morning gains on Tuesday amid fears of a global recession in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.

Amid a volatile trading session, Sensex plunged over 900 points in the afternoon trade on Tuesday while the broader Nifty slipped below 9,000-mark.

Sensex plunges over 900 points Nifty below 9000mark in afternoon trade ICICI Bank Bajaj Finance among top losers

Representative image. Reuters.

After gyrating over 1,000 points in a highly volatile opening session, the BSE barometer was trading 971.79 points or 3.10 percent at 30,418.28 at around 3.15 PM while the NSE Nifty was down 260.60 points or 2.83 percent to 8,936.80.

ICICI Bank was the major loser in the Sensex pack at 8.91 percent. The other major losers included IndusInd Bank (8.71 percent), Bajaj Finance (6.26 percent), Axis Bank (5.34 percent), HDFC (5.17 percent) and Mahindra & Mahindra (4.98 percent).

The gainers included Sun Pharma, Tata Steel, HCL Tech, Power Grid and ONGC.

Earlier in the day, the Sensex had jumped over 600 points while the Nifty had regained 9,300-mark.

The crisis-hit Yes Bank zoomed over 70 percent after Moody's upgraded the company's ratings.

Rallying for the third consecutive day, the company's scrip zoomed 73 percent in the morning trade. The lender's stock was trading 53.50 percent higher at Rs 56.95 on the BSE at around 11.45 AM.

On the NSE, it spiked by 54.05 percent to Rs 57.15.

The scrip has jumped nearly 100 per cent in three days.

In the previous session, the Sensex logged its second-biggest drop in absolute terms, plunging 2,713.41 points or 7.96 percent to finish at 31,390.07.

Likewise, the Nifty slumped 757.80 points or 7.61 percent to end at 9,197.40.

On a net basis, foreign institutional investors sold equities worth Rs 3,809.93 crore on Monday, data available with stock exchanges showed, reported PTI.

According to traders, despite heightened volatility amid fears of an economic recession, investors began bottom fishing at lower levels.

After market hours on Monday, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) hinted at a rate cut but stopped short of a decision, belying market expectations at a hurriedly called presser even as it announced some liquidity enhancing measures to contain the economic fallout from the coronavirus .

But governor Shaktikanta Das was quick to assure that the Reserve Bank has "enough policy tools and stands ready to take any measures" needed to help the economy tide over the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

In two liquidity enhancing measures, Das announced another round of $2 billion dollar-rupee swap on 23 March, and in another measure he said the RBI will continue to conduct the long-term repo operations (LTROs) of up to Rs 1 lakh crore as and when the market needs it.

Rupee rises 25 paise

The rupee appreciated by 25 paise to 74 against the US dollar in early trade on Tuesday tracking positive opening in domestic equities and the Reserve Bank of India's liquidity enhancing measures.

Forex traders said investor sentiments recovered after the Reserve Bank on Monday hinted at a rate cut at the next Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meet on April 3 and announced more liquidity enhancing measures.

The RBI announced another round of $billion dollar-rupee swap on 23 March and up to Rs 1 lakh crore of long-term repo operations as and when required.

At the interbank foreign exchange the rupee opened at 74.16, then gained further ground and touched a high of 74.00 against the US dollar, registering a rise of 25 paise over its previous close.

Asian stocks fall after historic Wall Street rout

Most Asian shares fell on Tuesday a day after Wall Street’s historic market rout, with fleeting initial gains evaporating as the coronavirus remained a major risk to economic growth, reported Reuters.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gave up early gains to trade 0.43 percent lower. Japan's Nikkei stock index slid 2.79 percent and South Korea's was off 3.2 percent. Australian shares were up 0.5 percent although this followed a massive plunge of almost 10 percent on Monday.

US stock futures rose 1.16 percent early in Asian trading, but these gains were not enough to ease investor concern about the continuous spread of the flu-like virus.

“It’s no surprise that we’re seeing a bounce (in US stock futures) after the big falls on Monday,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney.

“However, the situation continues to deteriorate on the economic front because of the virus.”

The U.S. Federal Reserve stunned investors with another emergency rate cut on Sunday, prompting other central banks to ease policy in the biggest coordinated response since the global financial crisis more than a decade ago.

Investors, however, are worried that central banks may have spent all their ammunition and that more draconian restrictions on personal movement are necessary to contain the global coronavirus outbreak.

Financial markets cratered on Monday. The S&P 500 tumbled 12 percent, its biggest drop since "Black Monday" three decades ago, despite the Fed's surprise move late Sunday to cut interest rates to near zero, its second emergency interest rate cut in less than two weeks.

Some $2.69 trillion in market value was wiped from the S&P 500 as it suffered its third-largest daily percentage decline on record. Over the past 18 days, the benchmark index has lost $8.28 trillion.

Traders are looking ahead to data due later on Tuesday, which is forecast to show German investor sentiment tumbled in March.

Oil jumps $1 as sharp falls draw investors, bargain buyers

Oil rose more than $1 on Tuesday as bargain hunters emerged after recent sharp falls due to the coronavirus pandemic and the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, but fears of a recession still dragged on the market.

Brent crude was up by 1.8 percent, or 55 cents, to $30.60 a barrel, after hitting a high of $31.25.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 3.7 percent, or $1.06, to $29.76, having come off a high of $30.21.

“Presumably, the market is getting supported by physical bargain hunters and short covering,” said Stephen Innes, chief markets strategist at AxiCorp.

The United States has said it will take advantage of low oil prices to fill its Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), and other countries and companies are planning similar measures to fill storage tanks.

-- With inputs from agencies

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