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Sensex plunges 3,935 points in biggest intraday fall as India goes into lockdown


Equity benchmark indices closed 13 per cent lower on Monday with scrips across all sectors reeling under selling pressure amid the rapidly spreading coronavirus (COVID-19).

The pandemic prompted the government to announce lockdown in nearly 80 districts across the country and suspend rail, air and inter-state bus services till March 31.

The indices were locked in 10 per cent lower circuit within first hour of the session with reports estimating a loss of over Rs 10 lakh crore market capitalisation.

At the closing bell, the BSE S & P Sensex was down by 3,935 points or 13.15 per cent to 25,981 while the Nifty 50 tumbled by 1,135 points or 12.88 per cent to 7,610. Both Nifty 50 and Nifty bank witnessed their biggest fall in absolute terms.

All sectoral indices at the National Stock Exchange were in a sea of red with Nifty private bank down by 17.37 per cent, financial service by 15.52 per cent, auto by 14.17 per cent and metal by 11.21 per cent.

Among stocks, private sector lender Axis Bank lost by 27.6 per cent to Rs 310 per share while IndusInd Bank slipped by 23.9 per cent and ICICI Bank by 18.3 per cent.

Bajaj Finserv and Bajaj Finance dropped by 27.4 per cent and 22.7 per cent respectively. Auto major Maruti Suzuki skidded by 17.7 per cent while metal major JSW Steel cracked by 16.9 per cent and Grasim by 17.6 per cent.

Panic selling set in after increased uncertainty regarding the spread of COVID-19 after the government indicated that the country is in a crucial phase in its fight against the virus.

Several manufacturing companies said they will shut down operations till March 31, which will have a depressing impact on activity and market confidence.

Even globally, the coronavirus epidemic continued to cause widespread lockdowns and quarantines, edging economies in dire straits and evoking fears of a prolonged recession.

Meanwhile, Asian shares sank on Monday as a rising tide of national lockdowns threatened to overwhelm policymakers' efforts avert a possible deep global recession.

The Shanghai blue chips dropped by 3.11 per cent while Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost by 4.86 per cent, South Korea's Kospi edged lower by 5.34 per cent.

But Japan's Nikkei rose by 2.02 per cent aided, likely by expectations of more aggressive asset buying by the Bank of Japan.

Reports said the global death toll due to coronavirus exceeded over 14,000 with more than 300,000 infections.


(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, March 23 2020. 16:25 IST