Millennium Post

Rupee plunges 52 paise

Mumbai: The rupee reversed its initial gains to settle sharply down by 52 paise at 72.76 against the US dollar on Monday mirroring a crash in local equities and forex outflows as detection of two fresh cases of novel coronavirus in India unnerved investors.

The rupee had started the day on a positive note and was trading with gains until a Union Health Ministry statement reporting two new cases of COVID-19 infection in the country triggered a sell-off in stock markets.

In line with weak stock markets, the rupee plunged to a day's low of 72.78 before closing at 72.76 -- showing a loss of 52 paise over the last close. The local unit had settled at 72.24 against the greenback on Friday.

Meanwhile, global crude oil benchmark, Brent futures, rose 1.15 per cent to trade at $50.24 per barrel.

The dollar index, which gauges the greenback's strength against a basket of six currencies, slipped 0.38 per cent to 97.75. "Rupee continued its weakness on back of corona virus hitting The 10-year Indian government bond yield was at 6.35 per cent.

The Financial Benchmark India Private Ltd (FBIL) set the reference rate for the rupee/dollar at 72.1895 and for rupee/euro at 79.4421. The reference rate for rupee/British pound was fixed at 93.0104 and for rupee/100 Japanese yen at 66.30.

Meanwhile, Market benchmark index Sensex wiped out its sharp gains in the last hour of trade to close down by 153 points on Monday as detection of fresh coronavirus cases in India spooked domestic investors.

Marking its seventh consecutive session of fall, the 30-share BSE barometer closed 153.27 points or 0.40 per cent lower at 38,144.02 as financial, steel and FMCG stocks tanked on growth concerns.

The broader Nifty of the NSE also shed more than 400 points from its day's high and closed lower by 69 points or 0.62 per cent at 11,132.75.

Stocks had rallied in morning session due to value buying by investors following sharp losses in the previous sessions. Sensex rallied 786 points to touch the day's high of 39,083.17. Nifty scaled 11,433 in day trade.

Sector-wise, BSE metal, oil and gas, basic materials, utilities, energy and telecom indices fell up to 2.05 per cent, while IT and teck indices ended in the green.

Broader BSE midcap and smallcap indices fell up to 0.77 per cent.

Top losers in the Sensex pack included SBI, Tata Steel, Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto, ONGC and IndusInd bank.

On the other hand, HCL Tech, Nestle India, ICICI Bank and Infosys were among the gainers.

Bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo ended with significant gains as investors began value-buying in recently-hammered equities.

Stock exchanges in Europe too turned positive in their morning sessions.

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