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Benchmark indices tumble over 3% as oil crash fuels more worries

Mumbai: Indian benchmarks Sensex and Nifty crashed over 3 per cent tracking heavy sell-offs on global bourses as historic crude oil plunge brought more unease into markets already reeling from coronavirus crisis.

The 30-share BSE Sensex ended 1,011.29 points or 3.20 per cent lower at 30,636.71; while the NSE Nifty closed 280.40 points or 3.03 per cent down at 8,981.50.

In the Sensex pack, 27 shares closed in the red and only three in the green.

IndusInd Bank was the top laggard on the Sensex chart, with over 12 per cent drop. It was followed by Bajaj Finance, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Tata Stee, M&M, ONGC and Maruti tumbling in the range of 6-9 per cent.

Bucking the trend, Bharti Airtel, Hero MotoCorp and Nestle India managed to clock some gains.

Sectorally, BSE bankex, metal, auto, finance, capital goods and IT indices fell up to 5.52 per cent, while telecom and healthcare indices rose up to 1.74 per cent.

In the broader market, BSE midcap and smallcap fell up to 2.96 per cent.

"After the US crude oil crash, Indian markets, in sync with global markets traded negatively, as the extent of the impact of lockdowns and the global slowdown is becoming evident. Corporate earnings have also been impacted by the pandemic related shutdowns, Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services, said.

Post earnings management guidance has also not given clear indication about the recovery path, though earnings results will be in focus for the future course of the company business, he added.

The Indian rupee settled for the day lower by 30 paise at 76.83 against the US dollar.

Globally, markets plunged after US oil prices turned negative on Monday for the first time ever.

Bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul ended with significant losses.

Stock exchanges in Europe were also trading up to 2 per cent lower.

With space to store oil scarce, WTI for May delivery plunged to USD 37.63 a barrel ahead of Tuesday's close for futures contracts -- when traders who buy and sell the commodity for profit would have had to take physical posession of it.

Brent crude contracts for June delivery was trading 20.30 per cent lower at USD 20.38 per barrel.

Meanwhile, concerns over mounting Covid-19 cases also kept investors jittery.

In India, the death toll due to the pandemic rose to 590, while the number of cases climbed to 18,601.

Global tally of the infections has crossed 24.7 lakh, with over 1.70 lakh deaths.

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