Domestic stock markets started the week on a negative note tracking weakness in Asian equities, as rising COVID-19 cases dashed hopes of a recovery across the globe. The S&P BSE Sensex index dropped as much as 1.00 per cent – or 353.46 points – to 34,817.81 in early trade, having started the session down 244.32 points (0.69 per cent) at 34,926.95. The broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark declined to as low as 10,282.15 after starting the day with a gap-down opening at 10,311.95 compared to its previous close of 10,383.00.
At 9:27 am, the Sensex traded 253.43 points – or 0.72 per cent – lower at 34,917.84, while the Nifty was at 10,303.90, down 79.10 points – or 0.76 per cent – from its previous close.
Losses in banking, financial services and metal stocks dragged the markets lower, however gains in consumer goods and pharmaceutical shares arrested the fall.
Shares in Mumbai-based Piramal Enterprises rose as much as 1.54 per cent to Rs 1,363.25 apiece on the BSE, after the conglomerate said US-based investment firm Carlyle Group will purchase a 20 per cent stake in its pharmaceutical unit for around $490 million (Rs 3,706.36 crore at one rupee = $75.64).
Shares elsewhere in Asia began the week with caution as the relentless spread of the coronavirus made investors question their optimism on the global economy.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was last seen trading 0.89 per cent lower, moving further away from a four-month top hit last week. Japan’s Nikkei 225 benchmark was down 1.32 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and South Korea’s KOSPI indices were down 0.80 per cent, 1.06 per cent and 1.20 per cent at the time.
The E-Mini S&P 500 futures were flat in early Asian trade, indicating a listless start for US markets on Monday.
The global number of deaths from COVID-19 reached half a million people on Sunday, according to a tally by news agency Reuters.
On Friday, Wall Street had faltered as some US states reconsidered their reopening plans, with the S&P 500 closing 2.42 per cent lower, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite indices declining 2.84 per cent and 2.59 per cent respectively.
Earlier that day, the Sensex had risen 329.17 points – or 0.94 per cent – to end at 35,171.27, and the Nifty settled at 10,383.00, up 94.10 points (0.91 per cent) from its previous close.