Key equity indices pared early gains and traded near the flat line in morning trade. Sentiment was fragile after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a total lockdown in the country for 21 days to curb coronavirus spread. The Nifty traded marginally above 7800 mark.
At 10:28 IST, the barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, was down 0.08% at 26,673.95. The Nifty 50 index was down 1.6 points or 0.02% at 7,799.45.
The broader market was mixed. The S&P BSE Mid-Cap index was up 0.07% while the S&P BSE Small-Cap index was down 0.51%.
The market breadth was negative. On the BSE, 549 shares rose and 998 shares fell. A total of 78 shares were unchanged. In Nifty 50 index, the breadth was positive with 27 stocks advancing and 23 stocks declining.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday (24 March 2020) called for a nationwide lockdown starting midnight.
The duration of the lockdown will be 21 days, added Modi. Modi said the 21-day lockdown was necessary to break the chain of the COVID-19 virus, adding that "social distancing is the only option to combat the virus outbreak".
Coronavirus has infected more than 422,000 people and killed more than 18,900 across the world. More than 109,100 people have recovered. India has reported 11 deaths and over 562 cases so far.
The Nifty PSU Bank index fell 3.26% to 1,262.80. The index has fallen 13.71% in last three trading sessions.
Punjab National Bank (down 7.9%), UCO Bank (down 5.03%), Union Bank of India (down 3.65%), SBI (down 3.41%), Canara Bank (down 2.36%), Indian Overseas Bank (down 2.17%), Bank of Baroda (down 2.08%), Bank of India (down 2.05%), Bank of Maharashtra (down 1.76%), Central Bank of India (down 1.75%), Indian Bank (down 1.39%) and J&K Bank (down 0.38%) were top losers in PSU Bank segment.
Stocks in Spotlight:
Rallis India was down 2.10%. The company informed that it has commenced safe shutdown of activities at its manufacturing operations located at Lote (in Maharashtra), Ankleshwar and Dahej (in Gujarat) effective from Tuesday, 24 March 2020 in a bid to fight COVID-19 pandemic.
Shares of ONGC were trading 2.8% lower at Rs 60.75. Moody's Investors Service downgraded ONGC's local and foreign currency issuer ratings to Baa2 from Baa1. At the same time, Moody's has downgraded ONGC's baseline credit assessment (BCA) to baa2 from baa1; the senior unsecured bonds issued by ONGC to Baa2 from Baa1; the senior unsecured bonds guaranteed by ONGC and issued by ONGC Videsh and ONGC Videsh Vankorneft to Baa2 from Baa1. The outlook on all ratings remains negative.
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