Domestic stock markets registered sharp losses on Monday on the back of a broad-based selloff. Investors turned cautious considering surging cases of COVID-19 in the country and the passage of a contentious farm bill by lawmakers in the upper house of parliament yesterday, according to analysts. Weak trading in European equity markets also added to the already negative sentiment on Dalal Street. The S&P BSE Sensex index fell as much as 785 points or 2.02 per cent to 38,072.88 in late afternoon deals, and the broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark touched an intraday low 11,252.60.
At 2:28 pm, the Sensex traded 670 points lower at 38,176 and the Nifty was down 212 points at 11,293.
The Rajya Sabha on Sunday passed two contentious farm bills, which have triggered protests by farmers at several places, amid uproar by Opposition members. The upper house of Parliament also rejected the demand of several Opposition parties to send the two bills to a Rajya Sabha Select Committee for greater scrutiny.
The two bills — Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 — were passed by Lok Sabha on Thursday.
India has recorded 54,87,580 COVID-19 cases so far with 86,961 new infections, government data showed on Monday. 1,130 deaths in the last 24 hours have pushed the total number of deaths to 87,882, whereas 93,356 patients have recovered from the infection.
Meanwhile, selling pressure was visible across sectors. All the 11 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange traded lower, led by Nifty Pharma, Metal and Media indices, which were down 4 per cent each. The Nifty Banking, Auto, FMCG and Realty sector gauges also fell between 2 per cent and 4 per cent.
Mid- and small-cap shares were also seen engulfed in a bear hug with the Nifty Midcap 100 and the Nifty Smallcap 100 indices each dropping more than 3 per cent.
In the Nifty 50 basket of shares, 46 traded lower, led by Nifty Hindalco, which was down 8 per cent. IndusInd Bank, Tata Motors, Bharti Airtel, Tata Steel, Zee Entertainment, JSW Steel, Bharti Infratel, Maruti Suzuki, ICICI Bank, Mahindra & Mahindra, ONGC and Indian Oil also fell between 3.8 per cent and 6.5 per cent.
On the other hand, Infosys, Kotak Mahindra Bank, HCL Tech and TCS were among the notable gainers.
Overall market breadth was extremely negative as 2,123 shares declined on the BSE against only 580 that rose.