Indian stock markets suffered the biggest one-day losses since early April, as benchmarks fell more than 3%, following a wider sell-off in global markets as the new variant of the coronavirus would derail the global economic recovery. However, Nifty Pharma outperformed benchmarks as investors focused on healthcare and pharmaceutical companies.
The markets recorded the biggest drop in seven months. And during the session, Nifty and Sensex both plunged 8% from records set last month. Meanwhile, the VIX Volatility Index jumped 24% to its highest level in six months, indicating high volatility in the market. The scale of the market remained in favor of the declines, with one stock rising for four stocks falling.
Among the 50 stocks on Nifty, Cipla, Dr Reddy, Divi’s Lab, Asian Paints and Nestlé lead the gains. While Cipla closed up over 7%, Asian Paints and Nestlé India closed up 0.01%. The main losses were JSW Steel, Hindalco, Tata Motors, BPCL and Asian Paints.
Among the sectors on NSE, Nifty Bank plunged more than 13% from the record reached in October. It fell almost 4% on Friday. Nifty Auto also fell over 4%, while Nifty Metal and Nifty Realty fell over 6%. Nifty IT and FMCG recorded a sharp drop of almost 2%. The Nifty Pharma and Health indices increased by almost 2%.
Globally, stocks fell nearly 1% and were on track for their worst week since early October. Oil also fell below $ 80 a barrel after news of a possibly vaccine-resistant variant of the coronavirus prompted investors to rush to the safety of bonds, the yen and the Swiss franc.
Little is known about the variant, detected in South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong, but scientists say it has an unusual combination of mutations, may be able to evade immune responses, and may be more transmissible. .
British officials believe it is the most significant variant yet and rushed to impose travel restrictions in southern Africa, as did Japan, the Czech Republic and Italy on Friday. The European Union has also said it aims to stop air travel from the region.
European stocks plunged nearly 3%, on track for their worst day since September 2020. The UK FTSE and German DAX fell almost 3%.
The MSCI Asian non-Japan equity index fell more than 2%, the biggest drop since August. Japan’s Nikkei slipped 2.5% and S&P 500 futures fell 1.8% for the last time.
Oil prices fell as U.S. crude futures fell nearly 6% to $ 73.96 a barrel and Brent crude slipped more than 4.5% to $ 78.38 against a backdrop new fears of demand. Meanwhile, gold rose more than half a percent to $ 1,800 an ounce.
With contributions from Reuters
(Edited by : Yashi Gupta)