Sensex Falls Over 300 Points, Nifty Slips Below 12,000; Metal, Auto Stocks Lead Losses

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Oil prices extended their decline as the coronavirus outbreak hit demand in China

The benchmark indices have started the week on a tepid note, in line with the Asian markets and listless trading activity on Nifty futures. At 10:30 a.m, the Sensex was quoting at 40,8565, lower by 284 points and Nifty was at 12,009, down 88 points. The broader markets were also trading weak; the BSE Midcap index had shed 0.3 per cent to 15,581 and BSE Smallcap index had lost 0.1 per cent to 14,816.

In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan stumbled 0.7 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.8 per cent and South Korea’s KOSPI was off 1.4 per cent. SGX Nifty was trading virtually unchanged at 12,074 on the Singaporean Exchange. On the US front, the Wall Street had pulled back from record levels on Friday. The Dow Jones slipped 0.6 per cent to 29,182, S&P 500 dropped 0.2 per cent to 3,337 and Nasdaq Composite was down 0.1 per cent at 9,559.

In commodities, oil prices extended their decline as the specter of excess supplies loomed as the coronavirus outbreak hit demand in China. Brent crude slipped 38 cents to $54.09 a barrel.

In this week, the macroeconomic data announcements, Delhi poll results and coronavirus outbreak are likely to be on the investors’ radar. The government will announce the Industrial production and retail inflation data on Wednesday, and the WPI inflation numbers on Friday. The Delhi poll results will be announced on Tuesday.

And the coronavirus continues to spread its tentacles across China. The death toll in China’s coronavirus outbreak rose to 811 on Sunday, surpassing the number of fatalities in the SARS epidemic. The epidemic seems largely confined to China for the time-being, with some sporadic incidents reported elsewhere. But a possible global spillover could pose a terrifying headwind risk for markets worldwide.

The Nifty metal index fell more than 1.5 per cent after data from China’s metal association showed the country’s non-ferrous metal output will decline at least 10 per cent in February due to the coronavirus outbreak. Tata Steel was the top loser on the BSE, shedding 4.8 per cent to Rs 448. Vedanta, Jindal Steel and Hindalco also shaved off around 1 per cent each on the BSE. 

Auto stocks were also having a weak session of trade, with M&M, Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki declining between half a per cent and 3 per cent each. 

The market breadth was weak. Out of 1451 stocks traded on the BSE, there were 743 declining stocks as against 635 advances.

The Sensex had fallen 164 points to 41,141 and the Nifty had closed 39 points lower at 12,098 on Friday.

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