There was a sea of red on Dalal Street as benchmark equity indices tanked nearly 3 per cent on Friday. As a result, investors lost more than Rs 7.37 lakh crore as the market capitalisation of the BSE listed firms declined to Rs 258.30 lakh crore from Rs 265.67 lakh crore on Thursday.
Overall, the market sentiment turned cautious as a new variant of coronavirus in South Africa and subdued global cues spooked sentiment. The 30-share BSE Sensex plunged 1,687.94 points, or 2.87 per cent, to 57,107.15.
Likewise, the 50-share NSE Nifty index settled 509.80 points, or 2.91 per cent, lower at 17,026.80. As many as 47 stocks melted in the Business Today top 50 list.
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With a fall of 7.48 per cent, JSW Steel emerged as the top loser. Shares of the company declined Rs 50.90 to Rs 630. It was followed by Tata Motors (down 6.77 per cent), Adani Ports (down 6.22 per cent), Bharat Petroleum (down 5.67 per cent) and Maruti Suzuki India (down 5.58 per cent).
On the other hand, Divi's Laboratories (up 2.92 per cent), Nestle India (up 0.38 per cent) and Hindustan Zinc (up 0.11 per cent) stood only gainers in the list.
Amit Gupta, fund manager-PMS, ICICI Securities said, "Nervousness on the new variant of Coronavirus and expectations of US increasing the pace of tapering have led to recent market weakness. This trend may take some time to recover as the WHO meeting on the new mutant variant impact and hospitalisation rates in the US and Europe will be watched by the market very closely."
"India is on a higher earnings growth trajectory and this is the only major risk which can spoil the sentiments. The current dollar strength also suggests the risk-off sentiments and is leading to FII flows currently," he added.
Foreign portfolio investors have offloaded shares worth Rs 3,619 so far in the domestic equity market. They bought shares worth Rs 2.74 lakh crore last fiscal.
Barring the BSE Healthcare index (up 1.8 per cent), other sectoral indices on the exchange settled in losses. The BSE Realty, Metal, Auto and Oil & Gas index slipped between 3 per cent and 7 per cent.
Vinod Nair, head of research, Geojit Financial Services said, "Triggered by the new Covid variant in South Africa, domestic markets plummeted into negative territory following weak global peers. Existing inflation fears coupled with worries of an aggressive policy tightening by the US Fed Reserve also added to today's catastrophic session. On the domestic front, broad-based sell-off was witnessed as investors dumped Covid-sensitive stocks while the focus was shifted towards the pharma sector amid growing concerns over the new variant with higher mutations."
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