Sensex Plunges Over 1,300 Points, Nifty Slumps Below 11,250 As Coronavirus Spooks Global Markets

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.

Domestic stock markets suffered sharp losses on Friday with benchmark indices hitting their lowest levels recorded since mid-October, after global markets slumped on fears the coronavirus outbreak will lead to recession in major economies. The S&P BSE Sensex index nosedived as much as 1,342.13 points to hit 38,403.53 afternoon, and the broader NSE Nifty benchmark plunged to as low as 11,233.95, dropping 399.35 points from the previous close. A selloff across sectors continued to hurt the markets lower for the sixth session in a row, with banking, automobile, metal and oil & gas shares being the worst hit.

Here are 10 things to know about the market crash today:

  1. At 12:45 am, the Sensex traded 1,233.14 points – or 3.10 per cent – lower at 38,512.52, while the Nifty was down 365.20 points – or 3.14 per cent – at 11,268.10. All the 11 sectoral indices on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) suffered losses, and 48 out of the 50 shares in the Nifty basket traded lower at the time.
  2. Top losers on the 50-scrip benchmark index were Vedanta, Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Tech Mahindra, Yes Bank, Hindalco and JSW Steel, down between 5.45 per cent and 10.84 per cent each. Infosys, HDFC, Reliance Industries and HDFC Bank were the biggest drags on the Sensex, together accounting for a fall of more than 500 points in the index.
  3. 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.
  4. Analysts say the increase in the number of coronavirus cases highlighted the risk of world economy taking a bigger blow than anticipated earlier.
  5. “Until last week, the market was of the view that coronavirus is going to have only a minimum impact on global economy… An increase in the number of new cases is changing the view,” said Vinod Nair, head of research at Geojit Financial Services. “There are fears of some slowdown in the economy.”
  6. Some also say the spread of the pandemic beyond China is forcing investors to reassess the potential risk to global business. “The fear factor in markets is going up as the coronavirus is spreading across countries,” said Rusmik Oza, senior VP (head of fundamental research-PCG) at Kotak Securities.
  7. 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. Asian stocks tracked another overnight plunge in Wall Street’s benchmarks on Friday with the markets in China, Japan and South Korea posting heavy losses.
  8. 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. 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.
  9. Back home, analysts awaited official data on gross domestic product (GDP) due at 5:30 pm for any signs of revival in the economy, which is staring at its worst pace of annual expansion since the 2008-09 global financial crisis. Many economists expect GDP growth to pick up to 4.7 per cent in October-December, from 4.5 per cent in the previous quarter.
  10. On Thursday, the S&P BSE Sensex index had ended 143.30 points – or 0.36 per cent – lower at 39,745.66 and broader NSE Nifty benchmark settled at 11,633.30, down 45.20 points – or 0.39 per cent – from the previous close, declining for the fifth session in a row.

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