Domestic stock markets started Friday’s session on a volatile note as the country entered the tenth day of a 21-day nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The S&P BSE Sensex index fell as much as 442.32 points to hit 27,822.99 on the downside immediately after starting the day up 358.22 points at 28,623.53, resuming trade following a holiday. The broader NSE Nifty benchmark declined to as low as 8,125.50, having started the session at 8,356.55 compared to its previous close of 8,253.80. Analysts say investors are still on the back foot amid the rising cases of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
At 9:21 am, the Sensex traded 342.81 points – or 1.21 per cent – lower at 27,922.50 while the Nifty was down 105.35 points (1.28 per cent) at 8,148.45. All sectors moved lower except consumer goods shares, with the banking and automobile stocks being the worst hit.
In the 50-scrip Nifty index, 33 stocks suffered losses. Top percentage laggards were Kotak Mahindra Bank, IndusInd Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC, Tata Motors and Hero MotoCorp, trading between 3.87 per cent and 7.32 per cent lower.
On the other hand, Cipla, Hindustan Unilever, ONGC, Power Grid and HCL Tech – up between 2.12 per cent and 3.95 per cent – were among the top gainers.
Market breadth was negative with an advance-decline ratio of 3:4, as 429 stocks on the BSE traded higher against 612 that moved lower. On the NSE, 608 stocks advanced while 869 declined.
The coronavirus cases in India crossed the 2,000 mark and death toll rose to 53 in the second week of the three-week countrywide lockdown imposed by the government to curb the spread of the deadly Covid-19 disease.
Equities in other Asian markets moved cautiously, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan last seen trading 0.15 per cent lower and Japan’s Nikkei 225 benchmark up 0.31 per cent.
A gauge of stocks across the globe advanced 1.24 per cent overnight, adding to modest gains earlier in Europe.
Overnight in the US, Wall Street rallied as hopes for a truce in the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia and a cut in oil output drove gains, taking some sting out of a shocking jump in Americans filing jobless claims due to coronavirus-led lockdowns. The Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indices ended 2.24 per cent, 2.28 per cent and 1.72 per cent higher respectively.
The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits shot to a record high for a second week in a row – topping 6 million – as more states enforced stay-at-home measures to curb the coronavirus pandemic
The United Nations said the global economy could shrink by up to 1 per cent in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, a reversal from the previous forecast of 2.5 per cent growth, warning that it may contract even further if restrictions on the economic activities are extended without adequate fiscal responses.
On Wednesday, the Sensex had ended 1,203.18 points (4.08 per cent) lower at 28,265.31 and the Nifty settled at 8,253.80, down 343.95 points (4.00) from the previous close.