BUSINESS

As virus digs in its heels, stocks plunge to lowest in three years

BSE drops 5.6%, banking majors lead fall on fear of more loans turning bad

Indian benchmark equity indices fell to their lowest level in three years on Wednesday as stocks continued to reel under selling pressure on account of concerns regarding increasing threat to global growth due to COVID-19 .

The 30-share Sensex, that managed to stay in positive territory only for a few minutes after opening, continued to slide as the session progressed to close at 28,869.51, down 1,709.58 points or 5.59%. This is the lowest close for the benchmark since March 2017.

Lowest since Jan. 20 17

The broader Nifty ended the day at 8,468.80, shedding 498.25 points or 5.56% — its lowest close since January 2017. The fall was primarily led by banking majors as the increasing number of COVID-19 cases has made investors jittery about corporate health that could lead to higher quantum of bad loans for the banking sector.

The biggest losers among the Sensex pack were IndusInd Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Bajaj Finance and HDFC Bank, among others.

Incidentally, the sectoral indices, representing banking and financial services, were the worst hit on Wednesday, plunging over 7% each.

Meanwhile, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) continued to press the ‘sell’ button with the quantum of net sales pegged at more than Rs. 5,000 crore on Wednesday. More than 2,000 stocks declined on the BSE as against less than the 350 gainers.

Most of the Asian indices also closed in the red on Wednesday with the Hang Seng plunging more than 900 points.

All European markets were also trading deep in the red at the time of going to press.

Sectoral indices for banking, financial services plunged over 7% each

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