Domestic stock markets fell more than 4 percent on Monday after the government extended the world’s biggest lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic until May 17 with few relaxations. The S&P BSE Sensex index tumbled as much as 5.77 percent – or 1,946.11 points – to 31,771.51, having started the session down 969.48 points at 33,717.62. The broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark declined to as low as 9,303.10 in late afternoon deals, after starting the day at 9,533.50 as against its previous close of 9,859.90. A selloff across sectors except for pharma shares – led by financial, automobile and metal stocks – pulled the markets lower.
Here are 10 things to know:
- At 12:55 pm, the S&P BSE Sensex traded 1,768.00 points – or 5.24 per cent – lower at 31,949.62 while the NSE Nifty 50 was down 505.90 points – or 5.13 per cent – at 9,354.00.
- In the 50-scrip Nifty basket, 46 shares traded lower at the time. Top percentage losers were Hindalco, Tata Motors, Vedanta, HDFC, Bajaj Finance, and ICICI Bank, trading between 9.15 percent and 10.45 percent lower. Market breadth was highly negative with an advance-decline ratio of 3:1, as 502 stocks traded higher on the BSE against 1,718 that moved lower.
- Reliance Industries shares fell more than 3 percent to Rs 1,419.75 apiece on the BSE after the operator of the world’s biggest refining complex reported a 39 percent drop in its March quarter profit to Rs 6,348 crore – its steepest fall since December 2008 – on a sharp fall in oil prices and lower fuel demand, missing analysts’ estimate.
- On Monday, Reliance Industries said private equity firm Silver Lake will invest Rs 5,656 crore in its digital arm, Jio Platforms, days after securing a $5.7 billion investment from Facebook as the conglomerate looks to pare debt.
- Analysts say weakness in global markets along with weak earnings back home hurt investor sentiment.
- “Hindustan Unilever Limited reported de-growth in volumes. Auto companies are reporting zero sales, also global sentiment is negative,” said Anita Gandhi, director at Arihant Capital Markets.
- HUL shares fell more than 5 percent to Rs 2,075.40 apiece on the BSE, as against their previous close of Rs 2,195.70. On Thursday, the fast-moving consumer goods major reported a 3.5 percent fall in net profit to Rs 1,515 crore for the quarter ended March 31.
- The benchmark indices tracked losses in global markets, where equities fell amid a spat between the US and China over the origin of the outbreak. While Japanese and Chinese markets remained shut for a holiday on Monday, South Korea’s KOSPI fell, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng returned from a two-session holiday with a 3.5 percent drop, but Australia’s ASX 200 eked out a 0.5 percent gain.
- US stock futures fell 1.7 percent, indicating a weak start for Wall Street on Monday. US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added to worries with fresh efforts to pin the blame for the pandemic on China, where the new coronavirus outbreak is believed to have originated. The latest salvo came from Mr. Pompeo on Sunday who said there was “a significant amount of evidence” that the virus emerged from a laboratory in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
- Crude oil prices crashed amid fresh concerns about oversupply. Sensex Brent futures – the global benchmark for crude oil – were last seen trading 2.4 percent lower at $25.82. West Texas Intermediate (ETI) futures – the benchmark for US oil prices – tumbled 7 percent, and were last seen at $18.38 per barrel.