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Sensex, Nifty spooked on rising Covid concerns and weak global cues

The overall market breadth supported losses as around 1060 shares declined at opening and pushed the BSE Sensex below 49,000 and Nifty-50 below 14,400

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The domestic benchmark indices pulled back even lower on Thursday, March 25 guided by negative trends from foreign markets as rising Covid cases worldwide and fears of lockdown directed the offloading. Analysts predict that Dalal-Street is likely to remain negative until the cases in the country decline to lower levels from its current peak as Maharashtra reported around 31,000 cases, its highest-single-day-spike on Tuesday. 

Heavyweights such as Reliance, HDFC Bank and SBI dragged the BSE Sensex below 49,000 as it opened lower by 296 points at 48,884.28, while the 50-stock Nifty opened at 14,465.20. In the market breadth, around 1060 shares declined at market opening and only 518 shares posted gains as selling was seen across the board which led all sectors to slip red, except for Metals. 

In the previous session, the markets declined the most in its 1-month period as the benchmarks slipped nearly two per cent in the intraday session.  

Further in global markets too, sustained selling pressure in major technology stocks in the U.S markets pushed the benchmarks lower and turned the sentiment negative for other exchanges overnight.  

In the domestic trading, investors seemed to book profits in the Auto sector as selective shares in the pack were on an upward trend lately. Shares of Tata Motors, Eicher Motors, declined over two per cent each in early session and contributed to the top losers of the index. However, leading brokerage houses and market experts predict a positive run in the sector considering the scrappage policy proposed by the government.  

On the other hand, the banks continue to slide further on lack of optimism as investors turned net-sellers in the pack after a rally that was seen post the Supreme Court’s verdict on the loan case which allowed the banks to write bad loans which were barred from September,2020. Today, shares of IndusInd Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank were the top laggards for the Sensex as they dipped nearly two per cent each.  

However, Metal and Energy stocks provided some relief to the markets as shares of Tata Steel, ONGC and GAIL stood among the top gainers of the index. Energy stocks are catching minor flame in markets as crude oil prices decline, say experts. The Brent crude futures slipped nearly two per cent overnight at $63.27 a barrel. 

Jubilant FoodWorks emerged as the top newsmakers as the company’s share price escalated over four per cent after the company signed a master franchise and development agreement with PLK APAC Pte, which will further allow the company to own and operate Popeyes restaurants in India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. The stock reached its day’s high of Rs 2,984.95 from its previous closing of Rs 2,868.05. 

Alongside in the IPO market, shares of Laxmi Industries debuted at a premium of 20 per cent from its issue price and Craftsman Automation listed at a discount of 9.4 per cent against its issue price. However, the overall fundraising from IPOs is at a 13-year high backed by excess liquidity from Foreign and retail investors.  

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