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Sensex Ends Volatile Session 173 Points Lower As Coronavirus Fears Linger

Sensex Ends Volatile Session 173 Points Lower As Coronavirus Fears Linger

Losses in financial, IT and metal stocks outweighed gains in auto and pharma counters

Domestic stock markets finished a volatile session on Wednesday with mild losses tracking cautious trade in global peers amid rising cases of coronavirus around the world. The BSE Sensex index moved in a range of1,625.03 points, swinging between gains and losses to touch 29,602.94 and 31,227.97 at the weakest and strongest levels of the day respectively, after starting the second of the three-day holiday-truncated week lower. The broader NSE Nifty benchmark moved within a range of 8,653.90-9,131.70,as against the previous close of 8,792.20. Losses in financial, IT and metal stocks outweighed gains in auto and pharmaceutical counters.

Here are 10 things to know about the volatile session in the markets today:

  1. The Sensex ended 173.25 points - or 0.58 per cent - lower at 29,893.96 and the Nifty settled at 8,748.75, down 43.45 points - or 0.49 per cent - compared with the previous close.

  2. In the Nifty basket of 50 components, 26 shares ended lower. Shree Cement, TCS, Titan, Hincaldo, ICICI Bank and Bajaj Finserv - ending between 2.56 per cent and 3.81 per cent lower - were the top percentage losers. On the other hand, Vedanta, Sun Pharma, Cipla, NTPC, Bharti Infratel and IndusInd Bank - which finished between  3.92 per cent and 5.47 per cent lower - were the top Nifty gainers.

  3. Analysts say volatility cannot be ruled out as investors assess the severity of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on global economy. 

  4. The National Stock Exchange's India VIX index - which gauges the expectation of volatility in the near term - climbed up as much as 3.73 per cent during the session.

  5. Market breadth remained positive, although the advance-decline ratio shrank from 3:1 to about 2:1. On the BSE, 1,221 stocks ended higher against 596 that finished the session in the negative territory.

  6. "It is a holiday-shortened week for trade in India, the pace of action is slightly quick, we are front-loading a lot of events that could happen next week," said Anand James, chief market strategist at Geojit Financial Services.

  7. The domestic markets - which assumed a holiday on Monday for Mahavir Jayanti - will remain closed on April 10 for Good Friday.

  8. By next week, the government is expected to lift its 21-day lockdown that has rattled businesses and brought economic activity to a grinding halt. 

  9. Meanwhile, broader Asian markets inched lower, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan falling 0.5 per cent and Japan's Nikkei benchmark dropping 0.7 per cent.

  10. On Tuesday, the Sensex and Nifty had recorded their biggest single-day gain since 2009.