Equities surrender gains as virus concerns weigh; IT, bank stocks skid

Sensex surged over 500 points in opening trade led by gains in Reliance Industries, HDFC duo and ICICI Bank amid thin trade in Asian markets.

Mumbai, Apr 8 (PTI)
 Equity benchmarks failed to hold on to intra-day gains on Wednesday as investors turned jittery amid an unabated rise in coronavirus cases.

Plunging over 1,300 points from the day’s high, the 30-share BSE Sensex ended 173.25 points or 0.58 per cent lower at 29,893.96. It hit an intra-day high of 31,227.97.

Similarly, the NSE Nifty closed 43.45 points, or 0.49 per cent, down at 8,748.75.

Traders said the previous session’s euphoria evaporated and volatility set in on account of speculation that the central government was mulling lockdown extension beyond April 14.

Further, the Indian markets moved in sync with global benchmarks as worries over the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continued to weigh on investor sentiment.

TCS was the top loser in the Sensex pack, shedding 3.91 per cent, followed by Titan (3.47 per cent), ICICI Bank (2.18 per cent), SBI (1.85 per cent), Bharti Airtel (1.80 per cent) and ITC (1.60 per cent).

On the other hand, Sun Pharma, NTPC, IndusInd Bank and Bajaj Finance were among the top gainers, spurting up to 4.69 per cent.

“Markets gave up gains, following a negative opening in the European markets and uncertainty regarding the spread of Covid-19 infections. Markets are also uncertain as to the government response after the official 21 day lockdown expires on April 14.

“Some states are looking to extend the lockdown and some are for withdrawing it in a phased manner. The longer the lockdown stays, more the impact on the economy and companies,” said Vinod Nair, Head of research at Geojit Financial Services.

BSE realty, consumer durables, IT, teck, telecom and banking indices ended in the red, while healthcare, auto and utilities rose.

Broader BSE midcap and smallcap indices outperformed the benchmarks, jumping up to 1.90 per cent.

Global sentiment turned negative after the US posted a record single-day jump of over 1,800 Covid-19 deaths.

Bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Seoul ended in the red, while Tokyo closed on a positive note.

Benchmark exchanges Europe were trading around 2 per cent lower in the morning session.

Meanwhile, the rupee provisionally settled 70 paise lower at 76.34 against the US dollar.

Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, slipped marginally to USD 31.85 per barrel.

The death toll due to the novel coronavirus rose to 149 and the number of cases to 5,194 in India on Wednesday, according to the Health Ministry.

Global tally of the infections has crossed 14 lakh, with over 82,000 deaths.

Source: PTI

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