The domestic stock exchanges witnessed their worst single-day selloff in over seven months on Monday mirroring losses in European markets after the fast-spreading new strain of coronavirus was 70 per cent more infectious, the United Kingdom government said. The new strain of the virus led to lockdown in parts of the United Kingdom and a host of countries imposed restrictions on travellers coming from the UK, triggering a sharp selloff in equities across the world. The Sensex fell as much as 2,037 points to hit an intraday low of 44,923.08 and Nifty 50 index touched an intraday low of 13,131.45 after hitting record high of 13,777.50 earlier in the session.
The Sensex fell 1,407 points or 3 per cent to close at 45,554 and Nifty 50 index dropped 432 points or 3.14 per cent to close at 13,328 on the back of a broad-based selling pressure. ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, HDFC, ITC, State Bank of India and Axis Bank were the top drags on the Sensex.
European markets witnessed heavy selling pressure as the new coronavirus strain could be up to 70 per cent more infectious, the United Kingdom said, prompting its European neighbours and several other countries including Canada, India and Iran to close their doors to travellers from the country. England's FTSE 100 index fell 1.2 per cent, French CAC-40 index dropped 2.5 per cent and Germany's DAX plunged 2 per cent.
Back home, selling pressure was visible across sectors. All the 11 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange ended lower, led by the Nifty PSU Bank index's 7 per cent decline. Metal, media, banking, financial services, private bank and auto indices also fell 3-6 per cent each.
Mid- and small-cap shares also faced selling pressure as Nifty Midcap 100 and Smallcap 100 indexes fell over 5 per cent each.
All the Nifty 50 shares ended lower, led by Tata Motors' 10 per cent fall. ONGC, GAIL India, IndusInd Bank, Hindalco, Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum, Mahindra & Mahindra, Coal India, NTPC, Tata Steel and State Bank of India also fell between 6-9 per cent.
The overall market breadth was extremely negative as 2,430 shares ended lower, while 594 closed higher on the BSE.