Stock markets tank on renewed war fears

Stock markets tank on renewed war fears

Sensex, Nifty snap 2-day gains as Russia-Ukraine conflict escalates; Sensex tumbles 1,200pts in early trade; Auto stocks bore the brunt of heavy sell-off; Investors’ wealth falls Rs86,742cr; Crude oil price surge fuels Reliance Ind shares

Mumbai: Reversing their two-session rising streak, equity benchmarks buckled under selling pressure on Wednesday as the Russia-Ukraine war hammered investor confidence and roiled financial markets globally. A sharp depreciation in the rupee, unabated selling by foreign investors and lacklustre macroeconomic data added to the gloom, analysts said.

The 30-share BSE Sensex opened weak and plunged about 1,200 points in intra-day trade, before recovering some lost ground. It finally ended 778.38 points or 1.38 per cent lower at 55,468.90. On similar lines, the broader NSE Nifty shed 187.95 points or 1.12 per cent to close at 16,605.95.

The market capitalisation (mcap) of BSE-listed companies tanked Rs86,741.74 crore to reach Rs 2,51,52,303.35 crore in tandem with the massive selloff.

Maruti Suzuki was the top loser in the Sensex pack, tumbling 6 per cent, after the country's largest carmaker reported subdued sales and production figures for February, hit by the ongoing global semiconductor shortage. Other auto stocks too bore the brunt of heavy selling. Dr Reddy's, Asian Paints, ICICI Bank, HDFC twins and UltraTech Cement were among the other prominent laggards, slipping as much as 5.14 per cent. On the other hand, Tata Steel, Titan, Reliance Industries, Nestle India and Axis Bank climbed up to 5.54 per cent. Market heavyweight Reliance Industries spurted 1.67 per cent after crude oil prices touched the $110 per barrel mark. The market breadth was negative, with 23 of the 30 Sensex constituents closing in the red. "The strengthening of war drowned the global market, alarming the Indian market to start with substantial weakness. The negative effect was more on large-caps in-line with weak Q3 GDP data and downgrade of FY22 growth to 8.9 per cent from 9.2 per cent by NSO. "It makes sense to deploy the surplus cash in your portfolio in a step-by-step manner assuming stability in the future on a medium to long-term basis. However, volatility is expected in the near term given boiling crude price, state election outcome, and Fed policy status in the coming weeks," said Vinod Nair, head (research) at Geojit Financial Services. Continuing their selling spree, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold shares worth Rs 3,948.47 crore in the Indian capital market on Monday, exchange data showed.

Sector-wise, BSE auto, bankex, finance, consumer discretionary goods and telecom slumped up to 2.87 per cent, while metal, power, oil and gas and utilities posted gains. In the broader markets, the BSE midcap and smallcap gauges dipped up to 0.17 per cent. Russia's military offensive against Ukraine entered its seventh day on Wednesday, with fighting intensifying in Ukrainian capital Kyiv and other big cities, even as western nations tightened sanctions on Moscow.

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