Mumbai, Feb 28 (IANS) Fear of widespread disruption to economic activity owing to an imminent pandemic caused a massive stock market crash on Friday. Dalal Street mirrored global stocks headed for their worst week since the 2008 financial crisis.
The benchmark Sensex lost 1,448 points in a broad based sell-off which saw none except FMCG major ITC withstanding the carnage.
The ‘Fear Index’ or volatility index jumped by 30 per cent to settle at 22.87 as fresh cases of coronavirus infection surged outside China.
Domestic investors were already cautious ahead of the 3Q FY2019-20 GDP data release due later in the day, widely expected to remain subdued.
Nifty Metal index plummeted 7 per cent, the most among the 11 Nifty sectoral indices. It was followed by IT, media and PSU Bank index. The pivotal — banking and financial service sectors index — closed over 3 per cent lower.
“The rise in new virus cases is diluting investor wealth across the globe. On the domestic front, broad-based selling was witnessed with sectors having global exposure like Metals & amp; IT being impacted the most,” said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services
The top laggards on the Sensex were: Tech Mahindra, down 8.14 per cent; followed by Tata Steel, Mahindra and Mahindra, HCL Tech, Bajaj Finance and Infosys.
The Wall Street’s benchmark index, Dow Jones Industrial Average closed (down 4 per cent) with record losses on Thursday. China’s Shanghai SE Composite Index was trading 3.71 per cent lower while Japan’s Topix tumbled 3.6 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng plummeted over 3 per cent.
Besides, the futures markets pointed at no near-term relief for investors. FTSE 100 Index Futures pointed at a rough start. The index was down 3.44 per cent, NASDAQ 100 Future also traded lower by 1.29 per cent.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is likely to be declared a pandemic and focus is now shifting from China to South Korea, Iran, Italy and Japan where cases are escalating fast. Even Germany, Brazil and several others have joined the list, Moody’s said on Friday.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that the coronavirus outbreak has reached a “decisive point” and has “pandemic potential” as the toll in China increased to 2,788 on Friday.
The number of coronavirus cases in South Korea increased to 2,022 on Friday. Italy has confirmed 122 more coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 650.
(Ravi Dutta Mishra can be reached at [email protected])