Markets slump for fifth day on coronavirus woes, F&O expiry
Mumbai: Equity indices reeled for the fifth straight session on Thursday, pressured by a sell-off in bank, IT and energy counters, as the global markets grappled with fears of the coronavirus outbreak turning into a pandemic.
The expiry of February series derivatives contracts too kept the domestic markets volatile, traders said.
After plunging over 465.69 points during the day, the 30-share BSE Sensex finally settled 143.30 points, or 0.36 per cent, lower at 39,745.66.
Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty fell 45.20 points or 0.39 per cent to end at 11,633.30.
The Sensex has now lost 1,577.34 points in five days, while the Nifty has shed 492.60 points.
ONGC was the top loser in the Sensex pack on Thursday, dropping 2.61 per cent, followed by HCL Tech, M&M, SBI, IndusInd Bank and ICIC Bank.
On the other hand, Sun Pharma, Titan, Axis Bank and Asian Paints climbed up to 3.68 per cent.
World markets extended their losses while safe-haven assets like gold and US Treasuries strengthened after President Donald Trump announced that the US was stepping up its efforts to combat the Covid-19 outbreak, while the number of cases surpassed 81,000.
Indian markets were in the negative territory as the rapid global spread of the coronavirus kept investors on the edge and made them seek safety in gold and bonds, said Narendra Solanki, Head Fundamental Research (Investment Services) - AVP Equity Research, Anand Rathi Shares & Stock Brokers.
India is at risk of getting severely impacted by the epidemic economically because of its high reliance on Chinese imports for various goods, he noted.
Benchmarks also remained volatile on account of monthly expiry of derivatives contracts, he said, adding that sentiment remained sluggish amid reports that GDP growth is likely to stay flat at 4.5 per cent in October-December 2019.
The government's GDP estimate for the December quarter is scheduled to be released on Friday.
Further, relentless selling by foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) spooked retail investors, traders said.
According to provisional data available with stock exchanges, so far this week, FPIs have offloaded stocks worth a whopping Rs 6,812.57 crore on a net basis.
Sectorally, BSE realty, oil and gas, metal, teck, IT, industrials, energy, telecom and auto indices ended up to 2.09 per cent lower, while consumer durables and healthcare settled on a positive note.
Broader BSE midcap and smallcap indices fell up to 0.83 per cent.
Bourses in Seoul and Tokyo ended with significant losses, while Shanghai and Hong Kong closed with gains.
Stock exchanges in Europe plunged up to 1.80 per cent in their morning sessions.
Brent crude oil futures fell 1.33 per cent to $52.11 per barrel.On the currency front, the Indian rupee appreciated marginally to 71.62 per US dollar (intra-day).