The S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty 50 indexes fell for second straight session on Monday in line with global shares as the death toll from a coronavirus outbreak exceeded the SARS epidemic of two decades ago. More than 900 people have so far died mainly in China’s central Hubei province as of Sunday with most of the new deaths in the provincial capital of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak. The S&P BSE Sensex fell as much as 343 points at the day’s lowest level and the 50-shares Nifty briefly dropped below its psychologically important level of 12,000.
The Sensex ended 162 points or 0.39 per cent lower at 40,980 and the Nifty 50 index declined 67 points or 0.55 per cent to settle at 12,032.
European shares edged lower as fears over the coronavirus’ economic impact still weighed on sentiment. The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.3 per cent in early deals, with the travel and leisure sector the biggest decliner.
Ireland’s main index fell as much as 1.2 per cent, dragged down by banks after Irish nationalists Sinn Fein secured almost a quarter of first-preference votes in a general election.
MSCI’s All Country World Index, which tracks shares across 47 countries, was down 0.2 per cent.
To contain the spread, China’s government had ordered lockdowns, cancelled flights and shut schools in many cities. But on Monday, workers began trickling back to offices and factories though a large number of workplaces remain closed and many white-collar workers will continue to work from home.
Back home, all the 11 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange ended lower led by the Nifty Metal index’s over 3 per cent fall. Auto, Media, PSU Bank, Realty and Pharma sector gauges also fell between 1-2.6 per cent each.
Mid- and small-cap shares underperformed their larger peers as the Nifty Midcap 100 and Nifty Smallcap 100 indexes dropped 1 per cent each.
Mahindra & Mahindra and Zee Entertainment were top losers in the Nifty 50 basket of shares, both the stocks fell over 7 per cent. Tata Steel, Bharti Infratel, Eicher Motors, Coal India, Hindalco, Yes Bank, Britannia Industries, Vedanta and Tata Motors were also among the losers.
On the flipside, UPL, Bajaj Finance, Kotak Mahindra Bank, TCS and Reliance Industries were among the notable gainers in the Nifty.
The overall market breadth was negative as 1,551 shares closed lower while 986 ended higher on the BSE.
(With inputs from Reuters)