Indian equities reversed all the gains made yesterday and traded lower as concerns over the spread of Coronavirus hit investor sentiment on Thursday. D-Street was a sea on red with bluechip stocks like Reliance Industries, SBI, Infosys, HDFC Bank, and ITC sliding up to 2 per cent.
The number of confirmed deaths from the virus in China has climbed to 170 with 7,711 people infected, and more cases are being reported around the world. India, too, reported its first confimred case of Coronavirus today in Kerala.
That apart, volatility was seen in the markets due to expiry of the January series of Futures and Options (F&O) contracts, stock-specific development on the back of December quarter earnings, and in the run-up to the presentation of the Union Budget for 2020-21 on Saturday, Feb 1.
The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex settled off day’s low, but was still down 284.84 points, or 0.69 per cent, at 40,913.82 level. Reliance Industries was the top drag on the index , down 2.4 per cent, after global brokerage firm Macquire downgraded the stock to ‘underperform’. On the other hand, Bajaj Auto was up 1.4 per cent on the index after reporting an 8 per cent jump in net profit during Q3FY20.
On the NSE, the Nifty50 managed to hold the 12,000-mark, and closed at 12,035.80 level, down 93.70 points or 0.77 per cent. All the key sectoral indices settle the day in the negative territory. Nifty Pharma Index was the worst hit (down 2 per cent), followed by Nifty FMCG index (1.5 per cent), and Nifty PSU Bank index (1.3 per cent).
In the intra-day trade, the Sensex and Nifty hit a low of 40,829.91 and 12,010.60, respectively.
As for broader markets, the mid and small-cap indices underperformed on the BSE today. The S&P BSE mid-cap index declined over 1 per cent to close at 15,556.34, while the S&P BSE small-cap index settled at 14,703.96, down 0.92 per cent.
Asian stocks and currencies tumbled further on Thursday, as the rising death toll from a virus spreading from China led airlines to cut flights and stores to close, increasing pressure on the world’s second-largest economy as fears of a pandemic grow.
European stocks are also set to fall. EuroSTOXX 50 futures and DAX futures are down 0.8 per cent. FTSE futures point to a negative open in London. US stock futures, down 0.6 per cent, suggest a negative open on Wall Street.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 2 per cent to a seven-week low and has now dropped for six straight sessions. Japan’s Nikkei fell nearly 2 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 2.3 per cent and Taiwan’s benchmark index slumped 5.8 per cent in its first session since the Lunar New Year break.
(With inputs from Reuters)