FMCG major Ruchi Soya, which has just been acquired by Patanjali in a fire sale, pharma majors Abbott India and Ajanta Pharma, and chemical firms BASF India and Navin Fluorine, besides IT Firm R Systems were among the 6 dozen that delivered positive returns in the stock markets despite the coronavirus and lockdown-led rout that continues to head southward's.
Indian equities have been spooked by the rapid spread of coronavirus cases with the count already crossing the 1,200 mark nationally. The benchmark index Sensex fell for the second consecutive day by 1,375 points to close at 28,440 on Monday. Investors are concerned about the rising number of cases across the globe and the economic fallout due to the complete lockdown. The domestic benchmark index cumulatively fell by 17,378.83 points in 12 of the 20 trading sessions in March till date. On March 23, the 30-pack index logged the biggest single day fall of 3,934.7 points breaking the earlier record of 2,919.3 points fall on March 12. As it is difficult for the markets to bounce back in the wake of rising number of positive cases, a further weakness in Indian equities is expected. Since the outbreak of first COVID-19 case on January 31, the Sensex has tanked 30.2 per cent from 40,723.5 to 28,440 points. Not all scrips are trading in red as there are a few bucking the trend.
Data analysed for 2,014 actively traded BSE-listed stocks between January 31 and March 27 showed only 3.6 per cent scrips managed to stay afloat, an increase of 1 per cent and above in their stock prices during the period. Among them, nearly 16 were penny stocks with a share price below Rs 10 and 12 had a market capitalisation of Rs 1,000 crore and above (as on March 27). The biggest gainer in this series was Ruchi Soya Industries whose share price jumped almost 8 times during this period. This was followed by IT sector firm R Systems International with nearly 26 per cent rise and pharmaceuticals company Abbott India with 13.2 per cent gain. Down the list, another pharma company Ajanta Pharma and two chemical firms, Navin Fluorine International and BASF India, succeeded with double-digit growth.Meanwhile, close to nearly two-third of the lot underperformed the benchmark index. A total of 1,923 BSE-listed companies saw a decline in their prices during the said period between the wide range of 1 per cent to 84 per cent. Although around 420 scrips have fallen over 50 per cent, about 21 per cent of them have a market capitalisation of Rs 1,000 crore and above. Some prominent names that have lost more than 70 per cent of their value under the above category includes Sterling and Wilson Solar, Future Retail, Sobha, Indiabulls Housing Finance and Tata Chemicals. It is interesting to note that share prices of around 503 scrips on the BSE have touched their all-time low in March.
The sectoral performance during the period needs no explanation. Healthcare stocks, chemicals and FMCG companies have a significant share in companies that have managed to gain in this falling market. However, three-week lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus has taken a toll on factory production and construction activity which is clearly visible in the substantial share of companies belonging to automobile and ancillaries, infrastructure, capital goods, and realty sectors that have seen an erosion of over 50 per cent in their stock prices.