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Rupee Slips Past 75 Per US Dollar for First Time, Stocks Plunge 7% as Coronavirus Batters Global Economy


Bengaluru: Indian stocks plunged nearly 7% on Thursday, in line with Asian peers, as unabated panic over the coronavirus pandemic eclipsed steps taken by global central banks to arrest the economic fallout from the outbreak.

The NSE Nifty 50 index slipped below the 8,000 level to hit a near four-year low. The Nifty is 36.8% off its all-time high hit on January 20.

The rupee hit a fresh record low of 75.0100 against the dollar as a flight into cash and worries about tightening liquidity boosted demand for the world's reserve currency.

“Nothing much has changed. Panic is the overriding emotion right now,” said Anand James, chief market strategist at Geojit Financial Services in Kochi.

Global markers were ravaged, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan falling 5% to a four-year low even as policymakers in Europe, the United States and Australia launched stimulus measures.

The virus, which originated in China, has spread quickly around the globe, killing more than 8,000 people and battering economic activity, which has raised fears of a global recession.

As of Thursday, there were more than 130 cases reported in India with three deaths.

In domestic trading, the Nifty Auto Index plunged 6.5%, while the Nifty bank index slipped nearly 8%. The biggest laggard in the Nifty was Bharti Infratel Ltd, which slumped 16%.