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Sensex, Nifty near day's low; Europe opens lower

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Key equity benchmarks traded near the day's low in afternoon trade. Sentiment took a hit as the coronavirus outbreak took its toll on the international financial markets. At 13:26 IST, the barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, crashed 3393.95 points or 11.34% at 26,522.01. The Nifty 50 index slumped 958.35 points or 10.96% at 7,787.10.

In the broader market, the S&P BSE Mid-Cap index tanked 11.03% while the S&P BSE Small-Cap index declined 10.59%.

Sellers outpaced buyers. On the BSE, 222 shares rose and 1860 shares fell. A total of 124 shares were unchanged. In Nifty 50 index, 2 stocks advanced while 48 stocks declined.

The Sensex and the Nifty hit lower circuit limit of 10% in morning trade. The market resumed trading at 10:43 IST for pre-opening session. Normal trading started from 10:58 IST.

India Lockdown:

After an overwhelming response to the Janata Curfew, 22 states in the country have announced a lockdown in 80 districts where Coronavirus cases have been reported so far. The lockdown will be in effect till 31 March 2020. During the lockdown, only essential services will be allowed to operate in all the districts which have reported cases or casualties due to Coronavirus. The lockdown is aimed at preventing a Coronavirus breakout in India.

COVID-19 Crisis:

Coronavirus has infected more than 341,330 people and killed more than 14,746 across the world.

More than 99,040 people have recovered. India has reported 8 deaths and over 425 cases so far.

Stocks in Spotlight:

Ashok Leyland slumped 18% to Rs 36, extending losses for third day. The commercial vehicles maker said its board has decided to acquire a 6.99% stake in Hinduja Leyland Finance (HLFL) as against its original plan to acquire 19%. In the past three sessions, the stock has tumbled 42.5% from its recent closing high of Rs 64.35 recorded on 18 March 2020.

Titan Company dropped 12.64 % to Rs 792 after the jewellery manufacturer announced a shutdown of its offices since 17 March 2020. The company also said its plants are closed for a week starting from 23 March 2020 while retail stores will remain shut till 29 March 2020.

Hero MotoCorp dived 12.71% to Rs 1586.50. The company has decided to halt operations at all its global manufacturing facilities - including in India, Colombia and Bangladesh ‐ and the Global Parts Centre (GPC) at Neemrana with immediate effect until 31 March 2020. This is considering the safety and wellbeing of its employees as top priority in view of the escalating COVID‐19 situation.

Mahindra & Mahindra crashed 11.78% to Rs 284.90. M&M said in light of heightened concern on spread of CoronaVirus in the State of Maharashtra, the company decided to suspend the manufacturing operations at Nagpur Plant with immediate effect and Chakan (Pune) and Kandivali (Mumbai) from Monday, 23 March 2020 night onwards.

Maruti Suzuki India slumped 14.40% to Rs 4346.25. The company has taken a decision on production closure as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19. The company will shut production and office operations at its facilities in Gurugram and Manesar, Haryana with immediate effect till further notice. The R&D Centre at Rohtak will also remain closed, it added. The duration of this shutdown will depend upon Government policy, the company said in a statement.

Global Markets:

Most European markets opened lower while Asian markets continued to trade sharply lower on Monday on growing anxiety over the fallout from the Covid-19 coronavirus as no certainty was in sight on how long it would continue.

Markets across the world were hammered as a rising tide of national lockdowns threatened to overwhelm policymakers' frantic efforts to cushion what is likely to be a deep global recession.

In US, stock indexes finished another bruising week with sharp losses as panic over the coronavirus outbreak refused to abate, amid the acceleration of the global death toll. Investors haven't yet been comforted by the government's response to limit the economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic, whose severity and duration is unclear.

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

First Published: Mon, March 23 2020. 13:28 IST