Stock market updates: A record jump in Covid-19 cases in the country that led to lockout-type restrictions in the economically important state of Maharashtra scared investors on Monday. In addition, a weak manufacturing PMI impression for March fueled the blaze, raising further concerns about the pace and strength of the economic recovery.
Growth in manufacturing activities slowed to the lowest rate in seven months, as rising Covid cases hit demand. The PMI fell from 57.5 in February to 55.4 in March.
Against this backdrop, the front-line S&P BSE Sensex fell 1,449 points in intraday trading to a low of 48,581 amid massive sales in banks, financial services and real estate counters. However, a strong rally in IT ahead of the March quarter results gave investors some comfort and the index finished at 870.5 points, or 1.74 percent, down to 49,159 levels.
On the NSE, the Nifty50 index recovered 179 points from the day’s low of 14,459, and stabilized at 14,638 levels, down 229 points or 1.5 percent.
The pain in the market as a whole was less relative to the benchmarks, with the S&P BSE MidCap and SmallCap indices closing 1.13% and 1% respectively.
As a result, the overall spread of the BSE market was in the ratio of 1: 2 with two stocks falling versus each stock rising, versus a ratio of 1: 4 on the 30-stock index.
Sector-wise, the Nifty PSU Bank index fell 4% on the NSE, while the Nifty Bank, Private Bank, Financial Services, Realty, Auto and Media indices slipped between 2.5% and 3.5% .
On the contrary, the Nifty IT index jumped more than 2% and the Nifty Metal index gained 1% in a weak market thanks to high earnings expectations and strong global indices, respectively.
Stock prices hit a 1.5-month high on Monday after data showed an increase in US employment, while US bonds were under pressure amid fears the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates sooner than she had indicated.
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.8% while the largest MSCI index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside of Japan slipped slightly, with China closed for grave sweep day and the Australia on Easter Monday.
(With contributions from Reuters)
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