Trading in the domestic stock markets was halted for 45 minutes on Monday morning as benchmark indices plunged 10 per cent to trigger the lower circuit. after India entered a lockdown joining several countries in their fight against the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The S&P BSE Sensex index froze at 27,608.80 – down 2,307.16 points from the previous close – and the broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark was stuck down 842.45 points at 7,903.00. A deep selloff across sectors – led by banking, auto and metal stocks – hurt the markets, as the rapid spread of the corona virus outbreak forced more countries to declare lockdowns, hurting businesses.
Monday’s trading halt was a second within a period of seven trading sessions, as world markets continued to suffer the worst selloff since the 2008-09 global financial crisis.
The Nifty Bank index – comprising stocks of 12 major lenders in the country including heavyweights SBI, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank – was down 12.74 per cent.
Asian stock markets sank as a rising tide of national lockdowns threatened to overwhelm policymakers’ frantic efforts to cushion what is likely to be a deep global recession. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 3.8 per cent, with New Zealand’s market shedding a record 10 per cent as the government closed all non-essential businesses. Shanghai blue chips dropped 2.3 per cent, though Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.8 per cent aided perhaps by expectations of more aggressive asset buying by the Bank of Japan.