Sensex slides over 450 pts as banking, financial stocks falls; Oil rebounds

Sensex slides over 450 pts as banking, financial stocks falls; Oil rebounds

Indian equity benchmarks, tracking trends from weak global cues, was down over one per cent today, driven lower by private banks and financials.

The decision of Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund (MF) yesterday to wind up six of its debt schemes also dampened investor sentiment.

Stocks of ICICI Bank and Bajaj Finance were both down 4 percent, while shares of HDFC twins were also down 2 per cent each. 

IndusInd Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC twins, SBI, Infosys and TCS were among the other top laggards in the Sensex pack. 

The S&P BSE Sensex fell 478 points, or 1.5 per cent, at 31,380 levels and the Nifty50 hovered around 9,210 levels. 

All the Nifty sectoral indices were in the negative territory, dragged by Nifty Private Bank and Nifty Financial indexes, both down 3 per cent each.

Equity markets, in sync with global benchmarks, traded in the red as investor sentiment was back on fragility mode as focus again shifted to the economic downturn the world was likely to face due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Also, rating firm Fitch Ratings has made large cuts to global GDP projections and slashed India’s economic growth forecast to 0.8 per cent in the current 2020-21 fiscal.

On the upside, Reliance Industries, up 3 per cent, was the lead Sensex gainer. Hero MotoCorp, Sun Pharma, Larsen & Toubro, ONGC and HCL Tech were among the other top performers on BSE today.

Stock prices of Britannia Industries was among the top gainers on Nifty today after the company announced interim dividend of Rs 35 per share for FY 2019-20, ahead of its March quarter earnings announcement.

Stocks of Britannia jumped to 3.23 per cent to the intraday high of Rs 3,043 compared to the previous close of Rs 2,948 on BSE.

On Thursday, BSE 30-share barometer Sensex ended 483 points higher at 31,863 and NSE 50-share index Nifty rose 126 points to 9,313.

On the currency front, tracking weak domestic markets, the Indian rupee opened weak at 76.29 per dollar, down 22 paise over its last close of 76.07 per US dollar.

Globally, there are currently 27.25 lakh confirmed cases and 1.91 lakh deaths from the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. Total number of coronavirus cases rises to 23,077 in India, including 718 deaths and 4,748 recoveries.

Equities fell from Tokyo to Shanghai after an early rally on Wall Street, while awaiting a House vote on a federal stimulus bill, suddenly disappeared.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.8 per cent in morning trading. South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.4 per cent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200  edged up 0.8 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng  fell 0.2 per cent, while the Shanghai Composite  also fell 0.5 per cent.

That apart, an overnight report raised doubts over a potential coronavirus treatment.

On Thursday, Financial Times reported that Gilead Sciences’ antiviral drug remdesivir flopped in its first clinical trials,  citing documents published accidentally by the World Health Organization. The randomised trials were testing the drug’s efficacy in treating the coronavirus. The pharma company’s failure is viewed as a step back in the race to treat the virus. 

However, the US-based company disputed the FT report, noting that the study was terminated early as the sample size was too small to draw scientifically valid conclusions.  

Stocks of Gilead flipped from a 3.3 per cent gain to a 4.3 per cent loss after the report. It also helped overthrow the market.

The S&P 500 closed at 2,797.80, down 1.51 points. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 39.44 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 23,515.26 after losing almost all of a 409-point gain. The Nasdaq composite shed 0.63 points to 8,494.75.

US benchmark crude inched up to 68 cents to $17.18 a barrel, while Brent crude, the international standard, rose 49 cents to $21.82 a barrel.