New Covid variant spooks markets; Sensex ends 1,688-pts lower at 57,107

Closing Bell

Fears that a new strain could fuel outbreaks in many countries, straining health systems, potentially evading vaccines and complicating efforts to reopen economies and borders, sent a wave of risk aversion across global markets Friday. CLICK HERE TO READ WHAT'S SPOOKING THE MARKETS

Falling in-line with all global peers, the BSE Sensex plunged 1,688 points, or 2.9 per cent, to end today's bloodbath at 57,107 levels. The index hit a high and low of 58,255 and 56,994, respectively.

The Nifty50, too, erased 510 points, or 2.9 per cent, to close at 17,026. During the day, the index slipped below the 17,000-mark (at 16,986), a first since August this year. 

"Triggered by the new covid variant in South Africa, markets plummeted into negative territory following weak global peers. Existing inflation fears coupled with worries of an aggressive policy tightening by the US Fed Reserve also added to Friday's catastrophic session. On the domestic front, broad-based sell-off was witnessed as investors dumped covid-sensitive stocks while focus was shifted towards the pharma sector," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services

Click here for market snapshot

The stocks witnessed their biggest intra-day fall since April 12, 2021, and also their biggest weekly fall since January 29, 2021.

The meltdown was equally bad in the broader markets, where the BSE MidCap and SmallCap indices fell 3.2 per cent and 2.6 per cent, respectively.

"Nifty has new base at 16,000-16,500 now which may be tested in this weakness," said Amit Gupta, Fund Manager – PMS, ICICI Securities.

Exports-linked stocks such as auto and metals crumbled on the bourses with the Nifty Metal index closing 5 per cent lower and the Auto index sliding 4 per cent. 

ALSO READ: Market strategy: Time to be greedy or fearful? Here's what analysts suggest

Meanwhile, the Nifty Bank index fell 3.6 per cent and the Nifty Realty index slipped 6 per cent. The Nifty Pharma index, up 1.7 per cent, was the only gainer on the NSE.

India VIX climbed 25 per cent and hit a 6-month high of 21-level.


Markets at 02:30 PM

LIVE markets update:
The key benchmark indices continue to languish at lower levels with deep cuts on the back of a global sell-off following the emergence of new variant of Coivd-19.

The BSE Sensex was down 1,378 points at 57,417, and the NSE Nifty 50 had shed 422 points at 17,114.

Heavyweights, Reliance, HDFC, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank were the major draggers on the BSE Sensex, accounting for a loss of around 680 points on the BSE Sensex.

The broader indices were also down in tandem with the benchmarks. The BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices were down 2.7 per cent and 2 per cent, respectively

"Nervousness on the new variant of Corona virus and expectations of US increasing the pace of tapering have led to recent market weakness. This trend may take some time to recover as the WHO meeting on the new mutant variant impact and hospitalization rates in US and Europe will be watched by the market very closely," said Amit Gupta, Fund Manager – PMS, ICICI Securities.

He added: India is on higher earnings growth trajectory and this is the only major risk which can spoil the sentiments. The current dollar strength also suggests the risk-off sentiments and is leading to FII flows currently. Nifty has new base at 16,000-16,500 now which may be tested in this weakness.

Markets at lunch (updated at 1:30 PM)

LIVE market updates:
Bears have taken complete control over Dalal Street as any attempt by bulls to stagte a recovery is meeting heavy selling pressure on the upside.

The BSE Sensex is still down 1,262 points at 57,532 levels. The Nifty50 is at 17,157, down 379 points. In the broader markets, the BSE MidCap index is down over 2 per cent, in-line with benchmark, while the BSE SmallCap index is donw 1 per cent.

Investors' wealth tumbled Rs 4.48 trillion during day trade on Friday with the BSE benchmark plummeting 1,488 points intra-day, tracking weak global trends. READ MORE

Covid variant update:
According to news agency ANI, official sources have told the agency that no case of Covid-19 variant B.1.1.529 has been reported in India so far. A new variant of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 -- called B.1.1.529 -- has been identified in South Africa, with officials there saying it’s of concern.

Global markets: Stocks suffered their sharpest drop in three months in Asia on Friday and oil tumbled after the detection of a new and possibly vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant sent investors scurrying toward the safety of bonds, the yen and the dollar.

MSCI's index of Asia shares outside Japan fell 2%, its sharpest drop since August. Japan's Nikkei dropped 2.5 per cent and South Korea's Kospi fell 1.5 per cent. 

In Europe, stocks lurched lower with the UK's FTSE100 down 3 per cent, France CAC 40 down 4.6 per cent, and Germany's DAX down 3 per cent. 

Dow Jones Futures, too, slumped over 900 points (2 per cent).


Markets at noon

LIVE markets update:
Equities have recovered from lows, albeit mildly, but are still hovering near day's low levels. The benchmark indices clocked their biggest intra-day fall since April 12, 2021, and the biggest weekly fall since January 29, 2021.

At 12:08 PM, the BSE Sensex was down 1,263 points at 57,532 while the Nifty50 was at 17,158, down 377 points.

Recovery plays like hotels, aviation-related, and multiplex stocks are some of the worst hit sectors today as new Covid-19 variant dents prospects of economic recovery. Individually, Lemon Tree Hotels, Indian Hotels, Chalet Hotels, Orient Hotels, and Mahindra Holiday skid between 5-8 per cent. IndiGo, PVR, and Inox Leisure fell 8 per cent each.

As benchmark indices declined nearly eight per cent from record high levels, Devang Mehta of Centrum Wealth and Varun Lohchab of HDFC Securities decode investment strategies to ride the on-going correction. WATCH VIDEO


Markets at 11 AM

LIVE market updates:
The spread of the new Covid variant has spooked the investors who are rushing to shun risky assets.

The BSE Sensex tanked 1,485 points to 57,309 levels while the Nifty50 dropped 424 points at 17,111. Both the indices are down over 2 per cent each. READ WHAT'S WORRYING THE STREET

In the broader markets, the BSE MidCap index shed 2.7 per cent while the BSE SmallCap index declined 2 per cent.

Sectorally, the Nifty Pharma index is still up 1 per cent. Meanwhile, the Nifty Realty index has slipped 5.7 per cent; the Nifty Metal and Auto indices 3.8 per cent each; the Nifty PSU Bank 3.5 per cent; the Nifty Bank index 3 per cent. 


Markets at 10 AM

LIVE market updates: Pharma stocks are the only saving grace in this weak market. The Nifty Pharma index is holding on to its 2.5 per cent gain while all other sectoral indices were languishing in the red. 

The BSE Sensex extended its decline and was down over 1,000 points at 57,756 level. The Nifty50 also tanked 295 points and slipped below 17,250. In the broader market, the BSE MidCap index is down over 1.5 per cent.

The market breadth on the BSE is tilted towards declines. Over 1,800 stocks are in the red while 1,100 stocks are up. Volatility index, meanwhile, has surged 8 per cent.

New listing: Despite weak trend in the secondary market, Tarsons Products has managed to eke out slim listing gains. The company debuted at Rs 700 per share on the BSE, up 6 per cent against issue price of Rs 662.


Opening Bell

LIVE market updates: Mirroring the weak trend in Asian markets, amid the emergence of a new, highly mutated Covid-19 variant, benchmark indices started gap-down on Dalal Street on Friday.

The BSE Sensex tumbled 730 points, or 1.24 per cent, in early deals to quote at 58,065 in morning trade. The NSE Nifty, too, shed 207 points to test 17,300. The indices extended their weakness and hit lows of 57,914 and 17,271, respectively.

Only two stocks -- Dr Reddy's Labs and Sun Pharma -- were trading higher on the Sensex. All other 28 constituents were in the red dragged by Maruti Suzuki (down 2.5 per cent), Kotak Bank, HDFC, and Bajaj Finserv.

In the broader markets, the BSE MidCap and SmallCap indices dropped 1 per cent each.

Markets appear to be defensive with only select pharma stocks trading in the green. Overall breadth was favouring sellers in a ratio of 2:1.


Pre-open session

LIVE market updates:
Equities are trading with sharp cuts in the pre-open session. At 9:05 AM, the S&P BSE Sensex was down 343 points at 58,452 levels. The NSE Nifty, too, fell 234 points at 17,300 level.


Updated at 8:15 AM

LIVE market updates:
Indices may come under pressure on Friday as SGX Nifty is trading over 150 points lower at 17,409 levels.

Going ahead, future growth prospects and faster economic recovery are some of the factors in favour of the bulls, while persistent FII selling, quicker withdrawal of stimulus and change in interest rate trajectory weigh on the market sentiment.

Among individual stocks, Tarsons Products will be in focus today as the stock makes its debut on the bourses. The issue price was fixed at Rs 662 per share.

Global Markets
The US markets were shut for trading on Thursday owing to the Thanksgiving holiday, the trading hours will be shorter for Friday as well. Meanwhile, Brent and WTI Crude declined 0.1 per cent and 0.5 per cent to $82.17 and $78.03 a barrel, respectively.

Asian markets were witnessing a sea of red this morning as the US dollar further strengthened on hopes of a faster rate hike in the US. Japan’s Nikkei had plunged 2 per cent. Straits Times was down nearly a percent. Shanghai Composite, Kospi and Taiwan were down 0.2-0.4 per cent, each.


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