Stock markets on Monday plunged close to 4.5 per cent as worried investors unloaded stocks, citing the rising number of coronavirus cases, lockdown, weak global cues and fall in crude oil prices. The benchmark Sensex plummeted 1,375.27 points to 28,440.32, while the NSE Nifty index fell 379.15 points to 8,281.10.
The rupee, too, closed 70 paise lower at 75.59 against the US dollar due to the sell-off in domestic equities and capital outflows.
Except healthcare and FMCG, all other sectoral indices witnessed heavy selling pressure with auto, banks and realty remaining the top losers. “As expected, the markets have set aside the stimulus measures announced by the RBI and the government, and focused on the rising virus infections and its impact on the Indian economy,” said Vinod Nair, head of research, Geojit Financial Services.
The overall market breadth was negative as well, with Nifty Midcap 100 down 2.8 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 by 2.3 per cent. “The lockdown in major cities has also started showing its impact and think-tanks are now vocal about strong possibility of further contraction in growth numbers,” said Ajit Mishra, VP—research, Religare Broking.
Central banks across the world have mounted an all-out effort to bolster activity with rate cuts and massive stimulus. However, the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases has been a cause of concern as it has surpassed more than 7 lakh cases. The US has seen a significant rise and New York has now become the epicentre of the outbreak. In India, over 1,100 people have contracted the virus.
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