Virus fears return to haunt markets
Markets fell worldwide on Friday as fresh lockdowns in France and Germany, and the re-emergence of Covid-19 in China overshadowed US President-elect John Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.
The BSE Sensex fell 549.49 points, or 1.11%, to 49,034.67, while the Nifty shed 161.90 points to 14,433.70.
This is the market’s sharpest single-day decline since December 21.
Shares in other Asia-Pacific regions were mostly lower. South Korea’s Kospi fell the most at 2.03%, while Japan’s Nikkei shed 0.62% and the Topix index 0.89%.
Indian equities took the heat of profit-booking as well since benchmark indices have been hitting record highs in the past few weeks, analysts said.
“Indian markets ended lower on the back of profit-booking amid weak global cues. Asian shares tripped lower, reversing earlier gains as rising Covid-19 cases in China reinforced investor concerns over the prospects for a global economic recovery,” said Deepak Jasani, head, retail research, HDFC Securities.
“European stock markets also traded lower with investors weighing increased Covid-related restrictions. The Nifty has given the first signs of reversing after a steep rise,” he added.
The India volatility index, or VIX jumped 4% on Friday, indicating the rise of anxiety and fear among investors.
VIX, often referred to as the fear index, shows investors’ perception of markets in the near future.
Analysts said the markets will remain volatile till the Union budget scheduled for 1 February.
“Along with the weak global market, in the coming week, the domestic market will shift its focus on the banking and finance sector as major banks and NBFCs (non-banking financial companies) are to release their quarterly results. The market can be volatile going forward, including concerns over how will the Union budget be,” said Vinod Nair, head of research, Geojit Financial Services.
Nomura said that in sync with the ongoing growth upcycle, the economy will enter a Goldilocks period in the coming months as inflation continues to moderate.
The rupee closed at 73.07, down 0.03% against the dollar.
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