Mumbai: Equity benchmark Sensex crashed over 2,700 points and the broader Nifty sank below 9,700 (intra-day) on Thursday, wiping off over Rs 9 lakh crore worth investor wealth, after WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, spiking fears of a global economic recession.
After opening around 1,200 points lower, equities continued their downward spiral, with domestic BSE Sensex plummeting 2,707.39 points to 32,990.01 in the morning session.
The 30-share index was trading 2,267.21 points, or 6.35 percent, lower at 33,430.19 at 1230 hours.
Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty hit a low of 9,648.65, cracking 809.75 points. It was trading 658.55 points, or 6.30 percent, down at 9,799.85.
The rupee plunged up to 82 paise to 74.50 against the US dollar in the morning session. It, however, pared some losses, quoting 46 paise down at 74.14.
The carnage on Dalal Street eroded investor wealth worth Rs 9,15,113 crore, taking the total m-cap to Rs 1,27,98,444.93 crore on the BSE.
The m-cap of BSE-listed companies stood at Rs 1,37,13,558.72 crore at the end of trading on Wednesday.
The day’s selloff was triggered after the World Health Organization (WHO), late Wednesday night, termed the new coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic, and expressed deep concern over the “alarming levels of inaction”.
Following the announcement, US President Donald Trump suspended all travel from Europe, excluding the UK, to the US for the next 30 days to stop the spread of the virus.
Brent crude oil futures were around 4 percent down at USD 34.37 per barrel, after the travel ban.
All Sensex components were trading in the red. Axis Bank was the top loser, tanking over 10 percent, followed by SBI, Hero MotoCorp, ITC, M&M, Bajaj Auto, and Titan.
According to traders, volatility peaked in global markets after the WHO’s announcement describing the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic.
Besides selloff in global equities, massive plunge in international oil prices and depreciating rupee added to investor concerns, they added.
Incessant foreign fund outflow also spooked market participants, traders said.
On a net basis, foreign institutional investors sold equities worth Rs 3,515.38 crore on Wednesday, data available with stock exchanges showed.
In overnight trade, the Dow fell into a bear market, and futures pointed Thursday to another rout in New York and Europe.
“Globally, a fall of 20 percent from the recent peak is normally considered as a bear market. However, the definition does not hold good in India. Given its high beta, Indian markets have corrected by 25-30 percent number of times as recovered quite quickly to resume the uptrend,” said Gaurav Dua, Sr Vp, Head of capital market strategy & Investments, Sharekhan by BNP Paribas.
COVID-19 has claimed over 4,200 lives and infected more than 117,330 people across 107 countries and territories. China remains the hardest-hit with over 80,000 infections and 3,000 deaths.