Sensex logs 2nd worst day in four months as China virus fears spread 

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MUMBAI, Jan 27 (AGENCIES): Equity benchmark Sensex on Monday clocked its second biggest fall in four months, dragged mainly by financial and metal counters as investor fears grew over fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak in China.

At close, the BSE gauge Sensex was 458.07 points, or 1.10 per cent, down at 41,155.12. Intra-day, the index cracked nearly 500 points. Likewise, the broader NSE Nifty ended 129.25 points, or 1.06 per cent, down at 12,119.

On the Sensex chart, Tata Steel was the top loser, dropping 4.31 per cent, followed by IndusInd Bank, HDFC Bank, SBI, PowerGrid and HDFC. Of the Sensex constituents, 21 ended in the red and 9 in the green.

In contrast, M&M, UltraTech Cement, Tech Mahindra, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank rose up to 1.63 per cent. Sectorally, BSE metal index crashed 3.25 per cent, followed by telecom, power, finance, bankex and FMCG indices. On the other hand, healthcare index emerged as the sole gainer. Broader BSE midcap slipped 0.40 per cent, while smallcap index closed marginally higher.

On the currency front, the Indian rupee depreciated by 11 paise to 71.44 per US dollar. Global crude oil benchmark Brent crude futures dropped 3.24 per cent to USD 57.95 per barrel. Sending shockwaves across the globe, the deadly coronavirus virus, which causes pneumonia-like illness, has already killed 80 people and infected more than 2,700 others in China. Financial markets across the world are increasingly turning volatile on concerns over the global economic impact of the virus, analysts said.

Many financial markets were closed in Asia for Lunar New Year holidays. Japan’s Nikkei sank over 2 per cent. Stock exchanges in Europe too opened significantly lower.

S Ranganathan, Head of Research at LKP Securities, said, “Coronavirus outbreak in China took a toll on Indian Equities as well today as financials and metals bore the brunt of the selling. Except for select pharmaceutical stocks which held fort and gained the broader markets traded weak.” Indian markets opened in red following subdued global peers as negative news of virus outbreak continued to worry markets globally amid holiday season in China.

During the afternoon session, the selling further intensified primarily in large cap segment as sentiments remained muted on back of news that India’s corporate and income tax collection for the current year is likely to fall for the first time amid a sharp fall in economic growth and cut in corporate tax rates, Narendra Solanki, Head Fundamental Research (Investment Services) – AVP Equity Research, Anand Rathi Shares & Stock Brokers, said.

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