Equity indices fall by 4 per cent as Covid-19 fears spread, oil prices plunge

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], Mar 9 (ANI): Equity benchmark indices dropped sharply during early hours on Monday in line with Asian peers as risk sentiment worsened due to the unabated spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) and a plunge in oil prices.

Oil fell the most since 1991 after Saudi Arabia started a price war with Russia by slashing its selling prices amid falling demand because of the virus outbreak. At 10 am, the BSE S&P Sensex was down by 1,532 points or 4.08 per cent to 36,045 while the Nifty 50 dived by 418 points or 3.8 per cent at 10,572.

All sectoral indices at the National Stock Exchange were in the red with Nifty metal down by 5.2 per cent, PSU bank by 4.3 per cent, IT by 3.7 per cent and realty by 3.3 per cent.
Among stocks, ONGC cracked by 11.41 per cent to Rs 78.40 per share. Metal and mining major Vedanta fell by 9 per cent while index heavyweight Reliance Industries dipped by 6.2 per cent at Rs 1,191.50 per share.

Among the other major losers were IndusInd Bank, State Bank of India, Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Larsen & Toubro and Power Grid Corporation.
However, Yes Bank gained by 14.2 per cent as State Bank of India got ready to unveil a reconstruction plan for the troubled private sector lender, which has been grappling with mounting bad loans and struggling to raise fresh capital.

Bharat Petroleum Corporation gained by 5.5 per cent while IndianOil Corporation rose by 2.1 per cent. Meanwhile, global share markets tumbled as panicked investors fled to bonds to hedge the economic shock of coronavirus.

The number of people infected has topped 107,000 across the world as the outbreak reaches more countries and causes more economic pain. At the same time, oil prices plunged more than 20 per cent after Saudi Arabia slashed its official selling price with plans to raise its production significantly after the collapse of OPEC’s supply cut agreement with Russia.

Brent crude LCOc1 futures slid 11.14 dollars to 34.13 dollars a barrel in chaotic trade while US crude CLc1 shed 10.58 dollars to 30.70 dollars. Japan’s Nikkei fell by 6.1 per cent while MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan lost 3.7 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was down by 3.2 per cent, South Korea’s Kospi by 3.8 per cent and Shanghai Composite by 2.3 per cent.

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