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Sensex loses 458 pts as China virus outbreak hits global markets

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With the Union Budget just five days away, the BSE Sensex plunged 458.07 points, or 1.10 per cent, to 41,155.12. (Representational image)

Benchmark Sensex on Monday plunged 458 points as investor fears grew across the world over the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak that has killed over 80 people in China.

Meanwhile, the rupee weakened by 10 paise to close at 71.43 against the US currency on Monday, extending losses for a third straight session, as the coronavirus outbreak stoked fears about more trouble for global economy. The domestic currency has lost 24 paise in the last three trading sessions.

With the Union Budget just five days away, the BSE Sensex plunged 458.07 points, or 1.10 per cent, to 41,155.12. Likewise, the broader NSE Nifty ended 129.25 points, or 1.06 per cent, down at 12,119. Global markets turned volatile on concerns over the economic impact of the virus. While many financial markets were closed in Asia for Lunar New Year holidays, Japan’s Nikkei sank over 2 per cent. Bourses in Europe too opened significantly lower.

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 1.38 per cent to 28,589.26, as 11:58 a.m. ET.

S Ranganathan, head of research at LKP Securities, said, “Coronavirus outbreak in China took a toll on Indian equities as well today as financials and metals bore the brunt of the selling. Except for select pharmaceutical stocks which held fort and gained, the broader markets traded weak with the Nifty losing 129 points.” The deadly virus, which causes pneumonia-like illness, has already killed 80 people and infected over 2,700 others in China.

According to Vinod Nair, head of research, Geojit Financial Services, growing catastrophic effect of coronavirus is impacting the world financial market, raising fears of a slowdown in the global economy.

“The Nifty index traded in the negative zone throughout the session and ended lower by 1.1 per cent,” said Ajit Mishra, vice president—research, Religare Broking.

Tata Steel lost 4.31 per cent, followed by IndusInd Bank, HDFC Bank, SBI, Power Grid and HDFC. In the Sensex pack, 21 ended in the red and nine in the green. In contrast, M&M, UltraTech Cement, Tech Mahindra, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank rose up to 1.63 per cent. Sectorally, BSE metal index crashed 3.25 per cent, followed by telecom, power, finance, bankex and FMCG indices.

On the other hand, healthcare index emerged as the sole gainer. The broader BSE midcap slipped, while smallcap index closed marginally higher.