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Covid scare returns

Sensex crashes 1,407 pts as new strain haunts; Investors lose Rs. 6.59 L cr

As Sensex crosses 50k, valuations do look stretched

As Sensex crosses 50k, valuations do look stretched

Adding fuel to fall

- Sharp drop in rupee

- Profit-booking after recent rally

- Global markets in red zone

Mumbai: Snapping its six-session record-setting streak, equity benchmark Sensex crashed 1,407 points on Monday as a new strain of the coronavirus in the UK clobbered global markets and cast a cloud over the economic recovery expected next year.

A sharp drop in the rupee and profit-booking after the recent rally added to the selling pressure on Dalal Street, traders said. The 30-share BSE Sensex plunged 1,406.73 points or 3 per cent to close at 45,553.96. This was its biggest single-day fall since May 4 this year.

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty tanked 432.15 points or 3.14 per cent to finish at 13,328.40. All Sensex components ended in the red, with ONGC leading the pack by tumbling 9.15 per cent. IndusInd Bank, M&M, SBI, NTPC, ITC, Axis Bank and PowerGrid shed up to 6.98 per cent. The market capitalisation of all BSE-listed companies dropped by Rs 6.59 lakh crore to stand at Rs 178.79 lakh crore.

European markets swooned while safe-haven assets like gold and the US dollar strengthened after the UK government reported a new strain of the coronavirus that was up to 70 per cent more contagious. The UK imposed a fresh lockdown in London and southeast England, warning that the potent new strain of the Covid-19 virus was "out of control".

Several European countries, including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Italy, have banned flights from the UK. India, too, has suspended all flights from the UK till the year-end.

"Indian equities tumbled as new strain of coronavirus in the UK created panic among the investors. Also, the overhang on Brexit talks has added to negative sentiments. Further lack of depth in the market owing to holiday season aided to the big fall today," said Sanjeev Hota, Head of Research, Sharekhan by BNP Paribas.

"We expect equities market to witness further volatility in the near-term. Nevertheless, correction after big rally is always a healthy sign for the market and provide good opportunity to add quality stocks for investment purpose. We continue to remain positive on equities for next 2-3 years owing to weakness in USD coupled with pro-growth government policies and dovish fiscal policies," said.

All sectoral indices ended in the red, with BSE metal, oil and gas, utilities, realty, basic materials, industrials, power and bankex plunging as much as 6.05 per cent. Broader BSE midcap and smallcap indices sank up to 4.57 per cent. Stock exchanges in Paris, Frankfurt and London were trading up to 2.50 per lower in early deals. Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Hong Kong and Tokyo ended in the red, while Shanghai and Seoul settled with mild gains. Global oil benchmark Brent crude futures slumped 5.30 per cent to $49.49 per barrel. The rupee depreciated by 23 paise to settle at 73.79 against the US dollar.

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