Black Friday sell-off: Which indices tanked the most and which ones bucked the trend?
Indian stock markets slumped nearly 3% on Friday as investors took profit off the table amid region-wide panic selling as the World Health Organization (WHO) discovered a new Covid-19 variant with numerous mutations.
The BSE benchmark Sensex opened nearly 1% lower at 58,254.79 before extending losses to close 2.9% down at 57,107.15. The Nifty50 opened 1.1% lower at 17,338.75 and ended 2.9% lower at 17,026.45.
“Markets had a gap-down opening as traders booked profit triggered by concerns of the new Covid-19 strain,” said Likhita Chepa, senior research analyst at CapitalVia Global Research.
Of the 30 Sensex stocks, only two ended in the green. These were drugmaker Dr Reddy’s Labs, which makes the Sputnik vaccine in India, and FMCG giant Nestle. Two other drugmakers that are part of the Nifty50 climbed--Cipla jumped 7.23% while Divi's Labs gained 2.92%.
The WHO and scientists are monitoring the new variant, which was first detected in South Africa, and is described as very different and more infectious from the previous versions.
The UK has temporarily banned flights from South Africa and five other African countries, while Hong Kong has already confirmed two cases of the new variant.
Shares in Asia fell 1% to 3% led by Japan’s Nikkei and China’s Hang Seng indices. The benchmark 10-year US bond yields dropped 1.6%, while South Africa’s rand depreciated beyond 16 per dollar for the first time in 12 months.
The detection of the strain, currently named B.1.1.529, comes at a time of a long weekend holiday in the US for Thanksgiving, meaning low volumes and lack of support from the US funds.
Meanwhile, crude oil prices tanked over 4%, extending overnight losses on the back of triggers caused by the new Covid-19 variants and increase in emergency oil supplies. The US and major oil producers are releasing millions of barrels of oil from their reserves to try to keep energy prices under check.
Worst-hit indices, and those bucking the trend
In India, broader markets were deep in the red, too. The BSE Midcap index fell 3.2% and the Smallcap index lost 2.7%. The BSE 500 slipped 3%.
Real estate shares led the selling spree with the BSE Realty index down 6.4% on concerns a broader economic slowdown will dent demand for properties. It was followed by the BSE Metal index, which crumbled 5.36%.
The BSE Auto index slid 4.28%, the Basic Materials index dropped 4% and BSE Oil & Gas index slipped 2.73%.
Other indices that fell more than 3% were capital goods, consumer durables, bank, finance, energy, telecom, utilities, industrials and consumer discretionary goods and services.
On the flip side, only one sectoral index ended in the green—the BSE Healthcare index, which gained 1.18%. Two other indices fell less than the broader market—the BSE IT and BSE FMCG both slipped 1.77% each.
Not surprisingly, the stocks that recorded the biggest drop were in sectors that would hurt the most if lockdowns or travel restrictions return.
Chalet Hotels sank 15.1% while Indian Hotels, the Tata Group company that operates the Taj luxury hotels, slumped 11.13%. Lemon Tree Hotels fell 8.6%.
Multiplex operator PVR lost 10.9% while its peer Inox Leisure fell 8%. Budget airline IndiGo crashed almost 9.5%.
Among others, coffee retail chain Café Coffee Day dropped almost 10% while Speciality Restaurants slipped 8.7%.
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