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Bloodbath on Dalal Street: Bears blow sends Bulls crashing

Bloodbath on Dalal Street: Bears blow sends Bulls crashing

Mumbai: Indian equity benchmarks suffered their biggest ever one-day plunge to crash into bear territory on Thursday as the Coronavirus pandemic left a trail of red across global financial markets.

After nosediving over 3,204.30 points on across-the-board selling, the 30-share BSE Sensex closed 2,919.26 points or 8.18 per cent lower at 32,778.14. Likewise, the broader NSE Nifty gave up the 9,600 level, slumping 868.25 points or 8.30 per cent to close at 9,590.15. This was the biggest drop for the benchmarks in absolute terms, eclipsing their previous record one-day fall on March 9. The markets have now entered bear territory — that is more than 20 per cent down from a recent high.

The Sensex and Nifty, which had hit their lifetime closing highs on January 14 this year, closed at more than 2-1/2-year lows on Thursday.

The carnage on Dalal Street eroded investor wealth worth Rs 11,27,160.65 crore, taking the total market capitalisation (m-cap) to Rs 1,25,86,398.07 crore on the BSE.

Global markets reeled after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the Coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic, and expressed deep concern over the "alarming levels of inaction".

US President Donald Trump suspended all travel from Europe, excluding the UK, to the US for the next 30 days.

Countries across the world are imposing travel restrictions, fuelling fears of a global recession, analysts said.

All Sensex components ended in the red. SBI was the top loser, crashing 13.23 per cent, followed by ONGC, Axis Bank, ITC, TCS and Titan.

All sectoral indices ended in the red, with BSE oil and gas cracking 9.82 per cent, followed by realty, metal, finance, energy and IT. Broader BSE midcap and smallcap indices followed the benchmarks, losing up to 8.72 per cent.

A massive plunge in international oil prices and depreciating rupee added to the volatility, traders said.

Meanwhile,the rupee sank by 60 paise to close at a fresh 17-month low of 74.28 against the US currency on Thursday due to heavy dollar demand as investors rushed to prune riskier bets amid coronavirus pandemic fanning recession fears. Brent crude oil futures dropped 5.50 per cent to $33.82 per barrel.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai dropped 1.52 per cent, Hong Kong 3.66 per cent, Seoul 3.87 per cent and Tokyo cracked 4.41 per cent.

Markets in Europe crashed up to 6 per cent in early trade.

With agency inputs

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