The stock markets crashed by 5 percent on Monday on the back of rampaging coronavirus and plunging crude oil prices. The S&P BSE ended the day at 35,635, weaker by 1,942 points or 5.1 per cent and the Nifty ended at 10,451, down 538 points or 4.9 percent. The broader markets also faced a rout, with the BSE Midcap index shedding 4.7 percent at 13,554 and the Smallcap index losing 4.2 percent at 12,770. The Sensex suffered its biggest loss, in percentage terms, since August 2015. All the BSE sectoral indices ended in the red, with oil marketing companies and banking stocks being among the worst affected.
The Sensex plummeted more than 2,400 points to hit 35,109 on the downside during the session and broader NSE Nifty benchmark slumped to as low as 10,294, down more than 700 points from the previous close before making a mild recovery towards the end of day.
The coronavirus is fast acquiring pandemic proportions. It has relentlessly spread throughout the world, with the number of infected people worldwide crossing the 1 lakh mark worldwide across 100 countries out of a total of 194 constituent countries of the United Nations. In India, the number of infected people has risen to 44 as 5 more people have tested positive in the past 24 hours.
There was turmoil in the oil markets after Saudi Arabia started a price war with Russia by slashing its selling prices and pledging to unleash pent-up supply onto the market. Brent crude futures fell by as much as $14.25, or 31.5 percent, to $31.02 a barrel. That was the biggest percentage drop since January 17, 1991, at the start of the first Gulf War and the lowest since February 12, 2016.
Equity markets across Asia sank, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan plummeting 3.0 percent to a five-month low, Japan’s Nikkei falling 4.7 percent and Australia’s commodity-heavy market down 5 percent.
European indices, including the CAC, DAX, and FTSE, had cuts ranging from 4-8 percent each in early trades. The US market futures are also staring at huge losses at the opening bell, with the Wall Street E-Mini futures plunging 4.6 percent. Crude oil prices nosedived 31.5 percent to $31.02 a barrel in their biggest percentage slump since the start of the first Gulf War.
Investors around the world are looking at central banks to announce measures to shield the world economy from the virus. The European Central Bank meets on Thursday, but the jury is still out on of and how it will choose to respond to the spreading contagion in the market.
All the BSE sectoral indices ended in the red, with oil marketing companies and banking stocks being among the worst effected. Companies engaged in crude oil exploration fell sharply after crude oil prices crashed in international markets. The operator of world’s largest crude oil refining facility at Jamnagar and operator of KG-D6 basin in Krishna Godavari basin – Reliance Industries – slumped 12.35 percent, its biggest single-day fall in at least 10 years, to end at Rs 1,113. State-run oil explorer ONGC dived 16.2 per cent to Rs 74 to be the top loser on the BSE.
Banking stocks also had a rough ride, with IndusInd Bank, SBI, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank losing 5-8 percent each. The other index heavyweights that received a battering were Tata Steel, TCS, Infosys, Bajaj Auto and L&T, losing between 5 percent and 8 percent each.
There were no gainers among the BSE index stocks. In the non-index space, Yes Bank zoomed 31 percent to Rs 21 as SBI expressed interest to take a 49 percent stake in the beleaguered bank.
The BSE market breath was abysmal. Out of 2,725 stocks traded on the BSE, there were 2,197 losers.