Sensex crashes 1,708 pts as virus wave hammers Street; investors lose Rs 8.77 lakh cr

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Mumbai, Apr 12 (PTI) The Sensex plummeted 1,708 points while the Nifty crashed below the 14,350-level on Monday as investors pressed the panic button amid the massive second wave of COVID-19 infections across the country.

The second wave is turning out to be much worse than expected, and participants are now reassessing their recovery forecasts amid increasing localised lockdowns, traders said.

An unabated fall in the rupee sapped confidence further, they added.

Posting its biggest fall since February 26, the 30-share BSE Sensex sank 1,707.94 points or 3.44 per cent to end at 47,883.38.

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty plunged 524.05 points or 3.53 per cent to finish at 14,310.80.

Barring Dr Reddy’s, which climbed 4.83 per cent, all Sensex stocks closed in the red.

IndusInd Bank was the top loser, tanking 8.60 per cent, followed by Bajaj Finance, SBI, ONGC, Titan, M&M, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank and Bajaj Finserv.

Investors lost Rs 8.77 lakh crore in the session, with the market capitalisation of BSE-listed stocks declining to Rs 200.85 lakh crore.

India recorded yet another peak in daily COVID-19 cases with 1,68,912 new cases, the highest single-day rise since the pandemic began, taking the total tally to 1,35,27,717, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday.

The national COVID-19 recovery rate has fallen below 90 per cent.

'Further implementation of lockdowns and all-time high COVID cases have dragged the market to a monthly low. This is expected to impact the economic growth of Q1 FY23 more than thought earlier.

'Implications to the banking and discretionary sector are presumed to be the highest, drifting market to defensives like IT, Pharma and FMCG. This trend may happen for a couple of trading weeks, down a few weeks COVID cases are likely to reduce, bringing growth back,' said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.

All sectoral indices ended with heavy losses, with BSE realty tanking 7.70 per cent, followed by industrials, metal, auto, power, finance and bankex.

Broader BSE midcap and smallcap indices nosedived up to 5.32 per cent.

Global markets retreated from record highs as investors awaited corporate results and macroeconomic data.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo were in the red, while Seoul ended with mild gains.

Stock exchanges in Europe were largely trading on a positive note in mid-session deals.

Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.57 per cent higher at USD 63.31 per barrel.

The rupee fell for the sixth straight session and settled 32 paise down at 75.05 against the US dollar. PTI ABM ANS ABM ABM