New Delhi: Stock indices ended lower on Friday (April 3), with the Sensex falling 674.36 points or 2.39% to 27590.95 and the broader Nifty down 170.00 points or 2.06% 8083.80 fell. The main winners of the Nifty were Sun Pharma, Cipla, GAIL and ITC, while the top laggards included Axis Bank, IndusInd Bank, Titan Company and ICICI Bank.
In afternoon trading, the benchmark indices extended the decline and the Sensex fell 708.06 points or 2.51% to 27557.25, while the Nifty also fell 181.75 points or 2.20% to 8072.05.
In the early morning hours, stock indexes were trading lower today, with investors continuing to focus on the potential impact of rising coronavirus infections. At 10:15 a.m., the BSE Sensex fell 274 points, or 0.97 percent, to 27,991, while the Nifty 50 dropped 91 points, or 1.11 percent, to 8,162. With the exception of Nifty FMCG and Pharma, all industry indices on the National Stock Exchange were in the red, with Nifty Private Bank falling 2.9 percent, Metal 2.8 percent, and Auto 2.5 percent.
The private lender IndusInd Bank fell 5.5 percent to 323.25 rupees per share. Kotak Mahindra Bank and ICICI Bank also fell 4.9 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively. JSW Steel fell 5.1 percent, Tata Steel 3.9 percent, Hero MotoCorp 4.6 percent, Bajaj Auto 4 percent, and Tata Motors 3.9 percent. However, Cipla, Bajaj Finance, GAIL, ONGC and ITC acted with a positive trend.
Meanwhile, despite Wall Street gains, Asian markets were down overnight after crude oil prices peaked one day. Japan Nikkei fell 0.19 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 0.6 percent, South Korea’s Kospi 0.71 percent, and Shanghai Composite 0.33 percent.
Crude oil prices eased on Friday after the previous day’s record surge when traders questioned Donald Trump’s claims that Russia and Saudi Arabia would cut production, while stocks continued to surge after a renewed thunderous rise in unemployment claims in the U.S. due to the virus crisis fought for the weekend.
As the number of people with COVID-19 exceeds one million and the death toll continues to rise, investors remain hostage to uncertainty as they attempt to assess the long-term economic impact of the pandemic, which is generally expected to affect the planet plunges into recession.
With trillions of dollars pledged by the government, the wild volatility that marked the markets at the start of the crisis has given way to some form of stability. And a much-needed gunshot in the arm on Thursday was a tweet from the U.S. president that Moscow and Riyadh could cut production to end their vicious price war that brought crude oil prices to a low of almost two decades last month.
Trump said he spoke to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is said to have spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “I expect and hope that they will save about 10 million barrels, and maybe a lot more, which if it happens will be GREAT for the oil and gas industry!” Trump tweeted. “Could be up to 15 million barrels,” he added in a subsequent post.
The news raised the price of crude oil, with Brent rising almost 50 percent at one point and WTI rising 35 percent. Brent eventually cut profits to 21 percent and WTI to 25 percent, still a record jump for both contracts. However, doubts increased after the Kremlin denied that Putin had spoken to the Crown Prince.
For its part, Saudi Arabia called for a meeting of OPEC and other major producers led by Russia to “stabilize the oil market” just one day after the kingdom’s record-breaking supply.
Stock markets were restless despite a good head start from Wall Street as traders recorded data showing that a whopping 6.7 million US workers had applied for unemployment benefits last week, in addition to the 3.3 million a week before when the corona virus forced companies across the country to close their doors.
Growth in Asia was only 2.2 percent this year, the worst since the region’s financial crisis 22 years ago, while China’s GDP rose 2.3 percent. Tokyo and Seoul barely ended up moving, Hong Kong lost 0.6 percent and Shanghai lost 0.6 percent.
Sydney and Mumbai fell more than one percent, Singapore lost more than two percent and Bangkok fell 0.4 percent. But there were profits in Jakarta and New Zealand. In early trading, London, Paris and Frankfurt were all in negative territory.
(With agency input)