Domestic stock markets started Wednesday’s session on a negative note, tracking Asian shares which took a breather as a resurgence of coronavirus cases challenged market confidence in a rapid economic recovery. The S&P BSE Sensex index fell as much as 0.81 per cent – or 272.26 points – to hit 33,332.96 on the downside in the first few minutes of trade, having started the day down 166.91 points at 33,438.31.
The broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark slid to as low as 9,833.80, after opening weaker at 9,876.70 compared to its previous close of 9,914.00. Losses in banking stocks weighed on the markets, however gains in select IT and pharmaceutical shares limited the downside.
At 9:24 am, the Sensex traded 216.54 points – or 0.64 per cent – lower at 33,388.68, while the Nifty was down 79.20 points – or 0.80 per cent – at 9,834.80.
Top percentage lowers in the Nifty were Bharti Infratel, JSW Steel, Mahindra & Mahindra, Power Grid and SBI, trading between 1.74 per cent and 3.24 per cent lower, among 35 stocks in the 50-scrip index that moved lower at the time.
On the other hand, Bharat Petroleum, Wipro, Tech Mahindra, Coal India and Infosys, trading between 0.93 per cent adn 1.38 per cent, were the top Nifty gainers.
HDFC Bank (down 1.46 per cent), Reliance Industries (0.70 per cent) and ICICI Bank (1.33 per cent) were the top drags on the Sensex.
Equities in other Asian markets were down amid rising cases of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shaken the world’s financial markets and businesses.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan was last seen trading 0.28 per cent lower, having climbed up 2.8 per cent the previous day, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 benchmark was down 0.74 per cent.
While China’s Shanghai Composite and South Korea’s KOSPI barometers were down 0.17 per cent and 0.61 per cent respectively, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.01 per cent.
Business sentiment of Asian companies hit an 11-year low in the second quarter, a survey by Thomson Reuters/INSEAD found, with some two-thirds of the firms polled flagging a worsening COVID-19 pandemic as the biggest risk over the next six months.
The E-Mini S&P 500 futures were down 0.39 per cent at the time, indicating a weaker start for US markets on Wednesday.
Overnight on Wall Street, all three benchmark US equity indices posted their third consecutive daily gains. The S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ended 1.90 per cent, 2.04 per cent and 1.75 per cent higher respectively, as the prospect of additional stimulus and a record jump in retail sales suggested the US economy could bounce back sooner than expected, five months into its pandemic-inflicted recession.
On Tuesday, the S&P BSE Sensex index had ended 376.42 points – or 1.13 per cent – higher at 33,605.22, and the broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark settled at 9,914.00, up 100.30 points – or 1.02 per cent – from its previous close, as the markets shares shrugged off a momentary jolt from rising India-China border tensions amid hopes of a fresh liquidity boost from the US central bank that lifted global risk sentiment.