The S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty 50 indexes plunged more than 3 per cent in noon deals, mirroring losses in European markets after the fast-spreading new variant of coronavirus was 70 per cent more infectious, the United Kingdom government said. The strain of new virus led to lockdown in parts of the United Kingdom and a host of European countries imposed travel restrictions to the UK.
At 2:58 pm, the Sensex fell 1545.11 points or 3.3 per cent and Nifty 50 index dropped 495.20 points or 3.6 per cent on the back of a broad-based selling pressure. ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, HDFC, ITC, State Bank of India and Axis Bank were top drags on the Sensex.
European markets were witnessing heavy selling pressure as the new coronavirus strain could be up to 70 per cent more infectious, the United Kingdom has said, prompting its European neighbours and several other countries including Canada and Iran to close their doors to travellers from the country. England’s FTSE 100 index fell 1.2 per cent, French CAC-40 index dropped 2.5 per cent and Germany’s DAX plunged 2 per cent.
Back home, selling pressure was visible across sectors as all the 11 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange were trading lower, led by the Nifty PSU Bank index’s over 2.5 per cent decline. Metal, media, banking, financial services, private bank and auto indices also fell between 1-2.5 per cent each.
Mid- and small-cap shares were also facing selling pressure as Nifty Midcap 100 and Smallcap 100 indexes fell over 1 per cent each.
Forty five out of 50 shares in the Nifty 50 basket were trading lower. ONGC was top Nifty loser, the stock dropped 6.5 per cent to Rs 93. IndusInd Bank, Indian Oil, GAIL, Tata Motors, State Bank of India, Mahindra & Mahindra, NTPC and Hindalco also fell between 4-5 per cent.
On the flip side, Nestle India, Cipla, Infosys, HCL Technologies and TCS were among the notable gainers.
The overall market breadth was extremely negative as 2,082 shares were falling while 837 were advancing on the BSE.