This Article is From Apr 24, 2020

Sensex Falls Over 550 Points Amid Coronavirus Drug Worries

The government has extended the biggest lockdown in the world to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected over 23,000 and killed 718, according to official data.

Sensex Falls Over 550 Points Amid Coronavirus Drug Worries

Financial stocks contributed to more than half the losses on the Sensex

Bengaluru:

Domestic stock markets fell over 1 per cent on Friday, tracking weak global markets, after US data underscored the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic and reports that an experimental drug to treat COVID-19 showed inconclusive results. The S&P BSE Sensex index lost as much as 1.84 per cent - or 584.81 points - to 31,278.27 during the session, whereas the broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark fell as much as 1.81 per cent - or 168.9 points - to 9,145.00.

At 1:07 pm, the Sensex traded 191.00 points - or 0.60 per cent - lower at 31,672.08 while the Nifty was down 75.30 points - or 0.81 per cent - at 9,238.60. 

Asian shares and US stock futures fell on Friday following reports that Gilead Sciences Inc's antiviral drug, Remdesivir, had failed to help severely ill COVID-19 patients in its first clinical trial.

US business activity plumbed record lows in April, mirroring dire figures from Europe and Asia as strict stay-at-home orders crushed production, supply chains and consumer spending, a survey showed.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.4 per cent and US stock futures, the S&P 500 e-minis, slipped 0.72 per cent.

"Global cues are negative, prospects of a vaccine have been dampened and there are concerns over the rising number of cases," said Siddhartha Khemka, head of retail research at Motilal Oswal Securities.

In Mumbai, financial stocks contributed to more than half the losses on the index, with the NSE Bank index slipping nearly 3 per cent in early trade.

Private-sector lenders ICICI Bank and Indusind Bank slid over 4 per cent each, and were among the top losers on the Nifty 50 index.

The government has extended the biggest lockdown in the world to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected over 23,000 and killed 718, according to official data.

The economy is likely to suffer its worst quarter since the mid-1990s due to the lockdown in the three months ending in June, according to a poll by news agency Reuters, which predicted a mild and gradual recovery.

Shares of real estate firm Oberoi Realty tumbled over 4 per cent, pushing the Nifty Realty index over 3 per cent lower.

Britannia Industries and Bharti Infratel were among the gainers.

Shares of Britannia rose over 3 per cent after the company declared an interim dividend of Rs 35 per share on Thursday, while Infratel shares jumped over 2 per cent after it reported a strong set of quarterly numbers.