The S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty 50 indices suffered their biggest single-day selloff ever in absolute terms as the Indian markets entered a bear phase. The investor sentiment - which has been shaky in the past few weeks in the backdrop of the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak - took a further beating after the World Health Organisation declared the deadly virus as a pandemic. The Nifty 50 crashed as much as 9 per cent or 950 points to 9,508 during the session - its lowest level recorded since June 2017 and the S&P BSE Sensex dropped as much as 8.97 per cent or 3,204 points to 32,493 - its lowest in 23 months.
The Sensex cracked 2,919.26 points - or 8.18 per cent - to close at 32,778.14 and the Nifty dropped 868.25 points - or 8.3 per cent - to settle at 9,590.15.
The domestic markets markets slumped mirroring losses globally as investors around the world anticipated the COVID-19 pandemic will lead the global economy into recession, analysts said. More than 1,00,000 people have been infected by the deadly coronavirus around the globe, and 73 in India.
"The markets are already in a bear phase (20 per cent off peak). The Nifty is far away from the 200-day simple moving average," AK Prabhakar, head of research at IDBI Capital, told NDTV. "The lockouts around the world are spooking the markets," Mr Prabhakar said.
"Markets will not recover in a hurry and investors should not buy anything. Apart from virus multiple factors are adding stress to our markets. These are difficult times there can be a sharp recovery but that will be sold into," he added.
"Technical bounce is expected next week but overall the sentiment is totally wiped out and we expect markets go down further," market expert Ajay Bagga told NDTV. "Corporate earnings in the next quarter will be bad and dimension for global markets have changed," Mr Bagga said.
"Nifty can go down to 8,800 levels going ahead," he added.
All the 11 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange ended lower led by the Nifty PSU Bank index's over 13 per cent slump. Nifty Bank, Private Bank, Realty, Pharma, Metal, Media, IT, Financial Services and Auto sector gauges also dropped between 8-10 per cent each.
Selloff was broad-based as mid- and small-cap shares also witnessed a massive selloff. The Nifty Midcap 100 index dropped 8 per cent and the Nifty Smallcap 100 index plunged 10 per cent.
All shares in the Nifty 50 basket ended lower with 27 of them closing at new 52-week low levels. Yes Bank was top Nifty loser, the stock fell 13 per cent. UPL, Vedanta, Hindalco, ONGC, State Bank of India, GAIL India, Axis Bank, ITC, Bajaj Finserv, Tata Motors, Grasim Industries, Adani Ports and Indian Oil were also among the top losers, down between 10-12.95 per cent each.
HDFC Bank, Reliance Industries, HDFC, ICICI Bank, Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services, Axis Bank and ITC were among the biggest drags on the Sensex, they collectively wiped out over 1,800 points from the Sensex.
The overall market breadth was extremely bearish as 2,243 shares closed lower while a little over 200 ended higher on the BSE.