Domestic stock markets suffered sharp losses on Friday as global markets were set for the worst week since the 2008-09 financial crisis amid fears the coronavirus would hurt global growth. The S&P BSE Sensex index plunged as much as 1,083.85 points to hit 38,661.81 in the first few minutes of trade, and the broader NSE Nifty benchmark slumped to as low as 11,311.90, dropping 321.4 points from the previous close. A selloff across sectors pulled the markets lower for the sixth session in a row, with banking, automobile, metal and oil & gas shares being the worst hit.
At 9:28 am, the Sensex traded 986.21 points – or 2.48 per cent – lower at 38,759.45, while the Nifty was down 306.15 points – or 2.63 per cent – at 11,327.15.
All of the 11 sectoral indices on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) suffered losses, and components of the Nifty basket of 50 shares suffered losses in early trade.
Top laggards on the 50-scrip benchmark index were Tata Motors, Hindalco, Tata Steel, Vedanta, Tech Mahindra, JSW Steel and Bajaj Finance, down between 3.84 per cent and 6.23 per cent.
Reliance Industries, HDFC Bank and Infosys were the biggest drags on the Sensex, together accounting for a fall of more than 300 points in the index.
Analysts awaited official data on gross domestic product (GDP) due at 5:30 pm. Many economists expect GDP growth to have picked up to 4.7 per cent in the third quarter of current financial year.
Equities in global markets were headed for the worst week since the depths of the 2008 financial crisis as investors ditched risky assets on fears the coronavirus would become a pandemic and derail economic growth.
Hopes the coronavirus would be contained to China vanished on Friday as infections spread rapidly around the world, countries started stockpiling medical equipment and investors took flight in expectation of a global recession.
Asian stocks tracked another overnight plunge in Wall Street’s benchmarks on Friday with the markets in China, Japan and South Korea all posting heavy losses.
MSCI’s all-country world index fell 0.3 per cent after a 3.3 per cent drop on Thursday, having lost 9.2 per cent so far this week and on course for its biggest weekly decline since a 9.8 per cent plunge in November 2008.
In Asia, MSCI’s regional index excluding Japan shed 1.4 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei plunged 3.3 per cent on rising fears the Olympics planned in July-August may be called off due to the coronavirus.
On Thursday, the S&P BSE Sensex index had ended 143.30 points – or 0.36 per cent – lower at 39,745.66 and the broader NSE Nifty benchmark settled at 11,633.30, down 45.20 points – or 0.39 per cent – from the previous close, extending losses for the fifth session in a row.