Indian benchmark indices fell sharply on Monday as the rising number of coronavirus cases forced several states into lockdown, and investors continued to sell. Sensex ended 3,934.72 points or 13.15% lower at 25,981.25. The Nifty 50 index ended at 7,610.25, 1,135.20 points or 12.98% lower. This was the worst crash on the stock exchange ever.
Trading was stopped for 45 minutes after the BSE Sensex fell over 10%, hitting the lower circuit level due to sell-off. This was the second time in two weeks that trade was halted temporarily.
Amid widespread selling of shares, bank and auto stocks were among the worst-affected. IndusInd Bank, Bajaj Finance, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, and Hero Motocorp suffered the biggest losses on the Sensex, while only Indiabulls Housing, Thyrocare Technologies Limited, and Ipca Labs made gains.
On the Nifty 50, Grasim Industries Limited, IndusInd Bank, Bajaj Finserv, Axis Bank, and Adani Ports incurred the biggest losses. Only stocks of Indiabulls Housing, Thyrocare Technologies Limited, and Swan Energy gained on the index.
Global financial markets were also hit hard on Monday as several countries resorted to lockdowns, leading to the fear of a deep economic recession to come.
Apart from Japan’s Nikkei 225, which rose nearly 335 points or 2%, all other major Asian markets fell sharply, but none as heavily as the Sensex. The Shanghai SE Composite Index dropped over 85 points or 3.11%. The Australia ASX All Ordinaries shed over 290 points, or nearly 6%. The Taiwan TSEC 50 Index fell 344 points, or 3.73%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng too was hit hard, declining nearly 1,109 points, or 4.86%.
The Indian rupee closed 112 paise lower at 76.32 against the United States dollar, an all-time low.