Both Indian benchmark indices nosedived to their worst fall in history on Thursday, tracking a crash in global markets as governments introduced stringent measures to tame the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Stock markets tumbled after United States President Donald Trump announced a 30-day ban on travel from Europe and the World Health Organization officially declared coronavirus a pandemic. A fall in international oil prices also spooked investors across the globe.
The BSE Sensex and the National Stock Exchange Nifty 50 both declined over 8%. The Sensex shed 2919.26 points to finish at 32,778.14, while the Nifty 50 tumbled 868.25 points to close at 9,590.15. This is the first time since March 2018 that the Nifty has plummeted below the 10,000-mark.
All sectoral indices on the NSE were trading in the negative with losses led by metal, media, information technology and bank stocks. The Nifty Bank index fell to a 17-month low and dropped below 25,000 points.
“The markets are already in a bear phase [20% off peak],” AK Prabhakar, head of research at IDBI Capital, told NDTV. “The Nifty is far away from the 200-day simple moving average of 10,300 and will likely close below that level today. The lockouts around the world are spooking the markets.”
On the Sensex, the biggest losers were State Bank of India, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Axis Bank, Tata Motors and ITC. Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd was the biggest loser on the Nifty, followed by UPL, State Bank of India, Vedanta and Yes Bank. All these stocks, as well as eight others, fell by over 10%.
Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei closed 856 points lower. Australia’s ASX All Ordinaries tumbled 418 points. Shanghai SE Composite Index was down 45 points, the Hong Kong Hang Seng 922 points and the Taiwan index 471 points. Wall Street stocks plummeted with the Dow Jones Industrial Average confirming a bear market for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis.
“Trump travel ban: sell, sell, sell is being heard across dealing rooms in Asia,” said Stephen Innes, global chief markets strategist at AxiCorp, according to AFP. “Travel restrictions equal slower global economic activity, so if you need any more coaxing to sell... after a massively negative signal from overnight trading in US markets, it just fell in your lap.”
The Indian rupee fell 56 paise and was trading at 74.21 against the United States dollar at 4.30 pm. The rupee had earlier in the day, by falling below the 74-mark, hit a 17-month low.