Stock markets suffered sharp losses on Thursday, with the Nifty 50 benchmark index slipping below the 10,000 mark for the first time in two years. The domestic markets plummeted following a selloff in global markets after the US announced a temporary travel ban from Europe in order to fight the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The S&P BSE Sensex plunged as much as 1,821.27 points to hit 33,876.13 in the first few minutes of trade, and the broader NSE Nifty benchmark slid to 9,916.55, down 541.85 points from the previous close.
At 947 am, the Sensex traded 1,686.22 points – or 4.72 per cent – lower at 34,011.18 while the Nifty was down 504.05 points – or 4.82 per cent – at 9,954.35. All of the 11 sectoral indices bore sharp losses at the time, with the Nifty Bank – a gauge of 12 major lenders in the country – down 5.38 per cent.
All of the 50 stocks in the Nifty basket also fell. Worst hit in percentage terms were Yes Bank, Tata Motors, Adani Ports, Tata Steel, Vedanta, ONGC, JSW Steel and SBI, suffering losses of between 7.63 per cent and 11.98 per cent.
HDFC Bank, Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank and Infosys were the biggest drags on Sensex, together accounting for a fall of more than 650 points in the index.
Analysts said the United States’ travel ban from Europe refuelled concerns about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on world business. They had already been gauging the chances of major economies entering recession in the past few weeks due to the fast-spreading outbreak.
US and European stock futures also took a hit. The S&P 500 futures dropped 4.7 per cent, a day after the S&P 500 benchmark index lost 4.89 per cent, putting the index firmly in a bear market territory. Euro Stoxx 50 futures sank 5.8 per cent to their lowest levels since mid-2016.