Market Wrap, March 25: Here’s all that happened in the markets today

Nervousness in the Chinese market, coupled with a steep rise in the daily Covid-19 infections back home along with monthly expiry of the derivative contracts, turned volatile on Thursday. Even though bulls tried to wrestle back and took the benchmark Sensex 647 points higher from the day’s low, bears had the last laugh.

Among the key indices, the BSE barometer of 30 shares ended at 48,440 levels, down 740 points or 1.5 per cent. On the NSE, the broader 50-share index ended at 14,348 levels, down 201 points or 1.4 per cent.

Maruti Suzuki, Bharti Airtel, Hindustan Unilever, Bajaj Finance, ONGC, UltraTech Cement, and Reliance Industries were the top laggards on the Sensex, while Indian Oil Corporation, Hero MotoCorp, Coal India, Eicher Motors, and Britannia were the additional losers on the Nifty. These stocks were down between 3 per cent and 4 per cent.

On the upside, Tata Steel, ICICI Bank, L&T, HDFC, and Dr Reddy’s Labs were the top gainers on the indices, up in the range of 0.35 per cent to 3 per cent.

Pain in the broader market was even more severe. The S&P BSE MidCap and SmallCap indices closed 2.22 per cent and 1.85 per cent lower, respectively.

The overall market breadth remained titled towards bears today with 2,189 stocks ending the day in the red as against just 760 stocks that ended in the green on the BSE.

Indices ended the March F&O series with the biggest drop for any monthly derivatives expiry in a year. The S&P BSE Sensex dropped 5 per cent in the March series, while the Nifty50 fell 4.9 per cent. The BSE MidCap index, meanwhile, declined 3.3 per cent.

Owing to the fall, the market cap of all the firms listed on the BSE fell below Rs 200 trillion for the first time since Feb 4, and now stands at Rs 198.7 trillion.

As regards sectoral performance, the Nifty PSU Bank index skidded 2.5 per cent on the NSE, sliding over 5.5 per cent in two days. Meanwhile, the Nifty Reality, Media, and Auto indices dropped 2 per cent each. Other sectoral indices ended up to 1.5 per cent lower, barring Nifty Metal index, up 0.02 per cent.

Global markets:

Equities languished close to two-week lows on Thursday, while the dollar cruised to near a four-month high against the euro as investors worried that Europe’s Covid-19 response was falling behind that in the United States.

European opened lower, with the STOXX index of 600 European shares down 0.1 per cent in early trade. MSCI’s gauge of world stocks, meanwhile, was 0.03 per cent lower. Its broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.2 per cent.

Weighing on sentiment was a selloff in Chinese technology shares due to concerns that they will be delisted from US bourses.

In Hong Kong, companies with US listings led declines. China’s blue-chip CSI300 index edged 0.05 per cent lower.

On the contrary, futures of all the three main Wall Street indices were up between 0.4 per cent and 0.4 per cent.

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