Domestic stock markets are likely to start Thursday’s session on a negative note tracking weakness across Asian peers amid concerns about the coronavirus outbreak. If the markets continue their downward journey, it would be a fifth straight session of losses after benchmark indices hit more than three-week closing lows. The Singapore Exchange (SGX) Nifty futures – an early indicator of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) Nifty index – dropped as much as 65 points to hit 11,660.00 on the downside ahead of the opening of Indian markets.
At 8:30 am, the SGX Nifty futures were down 49.00 points – or 0.42 per cent – at 11,676.00.
Equities in other Asian markets fell on Thursday as the rapid global spread of the coronavirus left investors on edge and seeking safety in gold and bonds. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded either side of flat. Japan’s Nikkei fell 1.4 per cent.
Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones fell almost half a per cent and the S&P 500 0.4 per cent – a slowdown from consecutive days of 3 per cent drops that have put the indices underwater for the year so far.
Most new coronavirus cases are now being reported outside China – the origin of the outbreak – with South Korea, Italy and Iran emerging as new epicentres.
The virus has driven an enormous flight of assets out of Asia as investors try to isolate themselves from both the outbreak itself and the cost of what has now been more than a month of paralysis in the world’s second-biggest economy.
Analysts awaited official macroeconomic data due by the end of the week for any signs of revival in economic growth. The government will release data on GDP or gross domestic product in the October-December period on Friday evening. (Here’s What To Expect From Official GDP Data)
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Wednesday that the government is “closely monitoring” the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the economy, and that various options are being gauged at various levels.
On Wednesday, the S&P BSE Sensex index had declined 392.24 points – or 0.97 per cent – to end at 39,888.96, and the broader NSE Nifty benchmark settled at 11,678.50, down 119.40 points – or 1.01 per cent – from its previous close. Both indices registered the lowest closing levels recorded in more than three weeks.