Indices fall for fourth day as investors fret over impact of coronavirus

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The benchmark indices posted their fourth straight session of losses amid weakness in global markets, as investors fretted over the economic impact of coronavirus. Concerns were exacerbated after Apple warned that the outbreak was a threat to global businesses. 

Coronavirus has now resulted in the death of 1,800 people, while the total number of confirmed cases has jumped to 72,436. It has crippled economic activity in China.

The Sensex fell as much as 445 points before closing at 40,895 — a decline of 161 points or 0.4 per cent. The Nifty dropped 53 points or 0.4 per cent, to close at 11,993.   

Buying was witnessed in the last hour of the trade, with technology companies and select public sector undertakings (PSUs) gaining due to ETF-related buying.

In the past four sessions, the Sensex has declined 672 points, or 1.6 per cent. The index on Tuesday closed at its lowest level in two weeks.

The market trend has been weak because of tepid corporate earnings. 

Quarterly profits of more than half of Nifty firms missed estimates in the latest reporting season, Bloomberg data showed.

“The global economy will slow down as the virus brings the second-largest economy to a standstill. The economic consequence of the SARS epidemic of 2003, which continued for close to 8 months, impacted the Chinese GDP by 1 per cent. China used to account for about 4.3 per cent of the world economy compared to 16.3 per cent in 2019,” said Geojit in a note.

Market players said the markets may remain range-bound with a negative bias due to lack of triggers domestically and rising global uncertainties.

“The indices will track global markets and witness huge volatility tracking the developments around coronavirus and its impact,” said Siddhartha Khemka, head (retail research), Motilal Oswal Financial Services.

Among Sensex components, Bharti Airtel dropped the most at 3.05 per cent. IndusInd Bank and Maruti were the other worst-performing stocks, declining 2.4 and 1.9 per cent, respectively. Barring 10, all Sensex stocks fell. Vodafone Idea fell 11 per cent on Tuesday after the ratings downgrade, due to a worsening risk profile.

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