Domestic stock markets extended losses and crashed in afternoon trading following weak opening of European equity markets as coronavirus infections grew rapidly in Europe and the United States, igniting fears of possible strict lockdown measures that could damage already fragile economic recoveries. Uncertainty over the impending US presidential election also weighed on investors’ sentiment. The BSE benchmark – S&P BSE Sensex slumped as much as 747 points or 1.85 per cent and National Stock Exchange benchmark – Nifty 50 index – tumbled 205 points to fall below its important psychological level of 11,700.
As of 2:25 pm, the Sensex traded 594 points or 1.43 per cent lower at 39,944 and Nifty was down 151 points or 1.27 per cent at 11,738.
European shares fell on reports of potential lockdowns in Germany and France, losing 2.5 per cent to hit five-month lows, rattled by a media report that France might bring in a national lockdown from midnight on Thursday.
The Paris index was among the hardest hit, losing 3.5 per cent to touch its lowest since May.
German shares slumped 3.2 per cent to their lowest since June, after a report Chancellor Angela Merkel wanted to close restaurants and bars to curb new infections.
Back home, selling pressure was visible across the sectors as all the 11 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange were trading lower led by the Nifty Private bank index’s 2.25 per cent fall. Nifty Bank, IT, Financial Services, Metal, Pharma, PSU Bank and Realty indexes also fell 1-2.4 per cent.
Mid- and small-cap shares also faced selling pressures as Nifty Midcap 100 and Nifty Smallcap 100 indexes dropped nearly 1 per cent each.
HDFC, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Infosys and Reliance Industries were among the top drags in the Sensex, they collectively wiped out over 350 points from the 30-share index.
HDFC was top Nifty loser, the stock dropped over 3 per cent to Rs 1,974. IndusInd Bank, ICICI Bank, Tech Mahindra, HCL Technologies, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Bajaj Finance, Hindalco, State Bank of India, HDFC Bank and UltraTech Cement also fell between 2-3 per cent.
On the flipside, Bharti Airtel surged 4.56 per cent a day after it reported highest ever quarterly revenue in July-September quarter.
UPL, Hero MotoCorp, Maruti Suzuki, Wipro, Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors and HDFC Life were also among the notable losers.
The overall market breadth was extremely poor as 1,654 shares were declining while 892 were advancing on the BSE.