Stock market bleeds: Sensex plummets to worst-ever fall of over 3,900 points, Nifty nosedives over 1,100 points; Axis Bank top loser

The stock market on Monday suffered its worst single-day rout in history and the rupee plunged more than 1%, with investors stuck in a selling frenzy as the coronavirus disrupted businesses and forced several districts into lockdown.

FP Staff March 23, 2020 16:51:04 IST
Stock market bleeds: Sensex plummets to worst-ever fall of over 3,900 points, Nifty nosedives over 1,100 points; Axis Bank top loser

The market was bleeding since the opening session at the start of the week, this morning. In its worst-ever crash, the BSE Sensex plummetted 3,934.72 points or 13.15 percent to 25,981.24 on Monday after several state governments announced lockdown following a spurt in the number of coronavirus cases.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index sank 12.98 percent to a near four-year closing low of 7,610.25. The rupee hit a record low of 76.16 against the dollar and was down 1.2 percent at 76.09 early in the day.

After a smart rally on Friday, the selling pressure resumed in the Indian markets with greater intensity as the benchmark indices recorded its biggest single day decline, said Ajit Mishra, VP-Research, Religare Broking Ltd. The wider spread of coronavirus cases in India and lockdown in major cities impacted sentiments. Further, the global cues too remained unsupportive. Therefore the Nifty index ended lower by 13 percent to close at 7,610 levels. The broader markets and all the sectoral indices ended with sharp losses wherein banking, capital goods and auto were the top losers.

In the first hour of Monday's trade, benchmark indices cracked over 10 percent, triggering a 45-minute trading freeze as coronavirus -led lockdowns across the world stoked fears of a massive global recession.

Equities spiralled further lower after trading resumed around 1100 hours, PTI report said.

Several Indian companies shut stores and factories in line with government directives and several districts went into lockdown to contain the virus. As of Sunday, India had 341 cases of coronavirus , with seven deaths, Reuters said.

Trading in equities was curbed in the first hour of Monday’s session as the main indexes plunged 10%, and resumed 45 minutes later.

Global stocks too roiled after nations across the world announced lockdowns in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, spiking fears of a mammoth global recession.

The rupee plummeted 90 paise against the US dollar to 76.10 during the day.

Axis Bank was the top loser in the Sensex pack, tanking over 28 per cent, followed by Bajaj Finance, IndusInd Bank, ICICI Bank, Maruti and L&T.

Indian benchmark indices followed the carnage in global equities as sentiments dampened further after global governments announced extensive lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19 , trader said.

Stock exchanges in China, Hong Kong and South Korea plunged up to 5 per cent, while those in Japan ended on a positive note. Bourses in Europe sank up to 4 per cent.

Meanwhile, Brent crude oil futures dropped 5.30 per cent to USD 25.55 per barrel. The number of global COVID-19 infections has shot past 3,00,000. Worldwide fatalities topped 14,000.

Cases in India spiked to 415, according to Health Ministry log.

The rising number of cases of coronavirus has definitely impacted economic activity across the globe. On the domestic front as well increase in the number of cases has forced the government to lockdown major cities impacting economic activity, said Mishra of Religare Broking. Going forward, it is expect the markets would continue to remain volatile as an increase in number of cases in India would lead to selling pressure. Meanwhile, market participants would pin their hopes on stimulus package from the government to reduce the economic impact of coronavirus cases, he added.

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