Domestic stock markets started the week on a lower note tracking a renewed selloff in global peers as the number of coronavirus cases increased around the globe. The S&P BSE Sensex index opened 589.04 points lower at 29,226.55, and dropped to as low as 28,708.83 – down 1,106.76 points from the previous close – in the first few minutes of trade. The broader NSE Nifty benchmark declined as much as 326.65 points to hit 8,333.60 at the weakest level in early trade, after starting the day down 274.3 points at 8,385.95. A broad-based selloff across sectors – led by financial, automobile and metal stocks – pulled the markets lower.
Analysts expect volatility to persist in the markets in the near term as investors assess the impact of the coronavirus-induced lockdown on the economy. Positive coronavirus cases rose above 1,000 in India as of Sunday evening, government data showed, while the total number of deaths touched 27.
At 9:17 am, the Sensex traded 1,000.08 points – or 3.35 per cent – lower at 28,815.51, while the Nifty was down 284.65 points – or 3.29 per cent – at 8,375.60.
All stocks but one in the 50-scrip Nifty index moved lower. Top percentage laggards at the time were IndusInd Bank, Bajaj Finance, ONGC, Mahindra & Mahindra annd Shree Cement, down between 5.21 per cent and 10 per cent. On the other hand, Cipla was up 2.21 per cent – the only positive stock in the benchmark index.
HDFC (down 4.22 per cent), Reliance Industries (3.49 per cent) and HDFC Bank (2.71 per cent) together accounted for a decline of nearly 300 points in the Sensex.
On Friday, the S&P BSE Sensex index had declined 131.18 points (0.44 per cent) at 29,815.59 and the broader NSE Nifty benchmark settled at 8,660.25, down 18.80 points (0.22 per cent) from the previous close, as the markets lost steam following three days of gains.
Equity markets elsewhere in Asia suffered sharp losses. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan was last seen trading 1.93 per cent lower, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 benchmark was down 3.23 per cent.
Crude oil benchmarks extended last week’s losses, due to the worsening coronavirus pandemic and continuation of the Saudi Arabia-Russia price war. Brent futures – the global benchmark for crude oil rates – were last seen trading 5.6 per cent lower at $23.53 per barrel.
On Friday, US markets succumbed to losses, halting their best three-day bounce in almost a century as the number of cases across the country skyrocketed. Doubts about the fate of the US economy resurfaced and the number of coronavirus cases in the country climbed.
The Dow Jones slumped 4.06 per cent, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite benchmarks fell 3.37 per cent and 3.79 per cent respectively.