New Delhi: The steady spread of Omicron variant of coronavirus rattled investors’ sentiment as they suffered heavy losses on Monday and closed at their lowest in four months.
The key domestic equity benchmarks extended Friday’s losses on Monday.
The BSE Sensex crashed to a low of 1,189 points at 55,822 on the back of across-the-board sell-off led by heavy losses in financial shares. The Sensex, which tanked 1,879 points at the low’s of the day, eventually recouped some of the losses.
Nifty 50 index plunged 372 points (2.2 per cent) to settle at 16,614.
Financial services, oil & gas and information technology stocks were the worst performers on Nifty50. Broader markets also crashed, with the mid-cap and small-cap indices down nearly 5 per cent each.
Markets across the globe fells as surging Omicron Covid-19 cases triggered tighter curbs in Europe and threatened to swamp the global economy into the New Year.
The spread of Omicron saw the Netherlands go into lockdown on Sunday and put pressure on others to follow, though the US seemed set to remain open. Persistent foreign fund outflow too weighed on investor sentiment.
Tata Steel was the major loser among the Sensex 30 stocks, down over 5 per cent. IndusInd Bank, Bajaj Finance, SBI, HDFC Bank, NTPC and Kotak Bank were the other major losers, down 3-4 per cent each.
Index heavyweights, Larsen & Toubro, Reliance Industries, ITC, HDFC and ICICI Bank were also down around 2.5 per cent. On the positive front, Hindustan Unilever gained 1.6 per cent, and Dr Reddy’s added a per cent.
The broader indices, the BSE Midcap and Smallcap, also recovered partially but still ended with losses in excess of 3 per cent each. The breadth was extremely negative, with nearly 4 declining stocks for every advancing share on the BSE.
Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) remained net sellers in the capital market, as they sold shares worth Rs 2,069.90 crore on Friday, according to stock exchange data.
Rising inflation, hawkish central banks, exploding Covid-19 cases, sustained selling by FIIs and slowing growth momentum in the developed economies combined to produce the perfect storm that spooked the markets last week, said V K Vijayakumar, Chief investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services.
Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude fell 2.45 per cent to $71.72 per barrel.
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