The Indian equity markets look set for another highly volatile session with the SGX Nifty fluctuating between minor gains and major losses. Investor sentiment continues to remain subdued as the number of coronavirus cases pile up with governments worldwide accelerating lockdowns to counter the pandemic. India reported its 151st coronavirus patient yesterday while Italy reported the largest single-day death toll from coronavirus since the outbreak began. Overall, the virus has killed more than 8,700 people globally, and infected more than 212,000.
Meanwhile, global markets continued to plunge as the widening repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic threatened to cripple economic activity. US stocks deepened their selloff on Wednesday and the Dow erased virtually the last of its gains since President Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration. The S&P 500 index ended down 5.2 per cent, though it pared losses late in the day as the U.S. Senate passed legislation to provide billions of dollars to limit the damage from the outbreak.
The European Central Bank also announced that it will buy 750 billion euro in bonds through 2020, with Greek debt and non-financial commercial paper eligible under the programme for the first time.
The latest promise of stimulus from the ECB propped up sentiment in early Asian trade but stocks struggled to find their footing in a volatile start. Japan's Nikkei opened 1.4 per cent higher. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dipped 0.25 per cent, and Australia's benchmark ran as much as 3 per cent higher before returning to flat.
Back home, the Reserve Bank of India has decided to conduct open market operations on March 20 in the form of purchase of an aggregate amount of Rs 10,000 crore of government securities. Besides, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a review meet on coronavirus. He will also address the nation later in the day.
On the Dalal Street, the S&P BSE Sensex sank 1,710 points to 28,870 on Wednesday and the Nifty50 index ended at 8,469 points. According to experts, the Nifty may slide below the psychological 8,000 mark in the coming sessions, with the index breaching its previous support level of 8,555 yesterday.
In commodities, oil prices plunged on Wednesday, with U.S. crude futures hitting an 18-year low on demand concerns due to the coronavirus outbreak, only to bounce back in early Asian trade with Brent up $2 to $27.06 a barrell.
And, in the end, here's a stock idea by CapitalVia Global Research which recommends buying Lupin Limited above Rs 638 for the target of Rs 678 with stop-loss at Rs 605.
Read by: Kanishka Gupta