Closing bell: Sensex crashes by 1,350 points as European markets open weaker

Equity benchmark indices witnessed a sharp downturn in the afternoon hours on Monday after European markets opened weak as a fast-spreading new coronavirus strain dampened investor sentiment. At 2:30 pm, the BSE SandP Sensex was down by 1,350 points or 2.87 per cent at 45,611 while the Nifty 50 slipped by 327 points or 2.38 per cent to 13,433.All sectoral indices at the National Stock Exchange were in the red with Nifty PSU bank dipping by 4 per cent, private bank by 2.2 per cent, metal by 3.8 per cent and auto by 2.8 per cent. Aviation stocks were under pressure over the UK border closure with SpiceJet falling by 9.5 per cent to Rs 91.90 per share while InterGlobe Aviation cracked by 6.4 per cent to Rs 1,543.90.Energy majors too were on a weak wicket as global oil prices dropped by about 3 per cent as a fast-spreading new coronavirus strain shut down much of the United Kingdom amid tighter restrictions in Europe.