Sensex down over 400 points, Nifty opens below 12000 amid global cues

Mumbai: Equity benchmark indices on Monday (February 24) amid losses in other Asian peers as the spread of the coronavirus outside China darkened the outlook for world growth. The BSE Sensex was quoting at 40753, down by 425 points or 1 per cent, while the broader Nifty opened down 139 points or 1.1 per cent, at 11940 points.

Indian rupee today opened 24 paise lower at 71.89 per dollar against the previous session close at 71.65. Last week, the rupee ended marginally lower at 71.65 against on February 20 the February 14 closing of 71.36.

Meanwhile, global shares and oil slid today while safe-haven gold surged as the spread of the coronavirus outside China darkened the outlook for world growth with infections and deaths rising in South Korea, Italy and the Middle East.

South Korea put the country on high alert while the number of infections jumped to over 700 and deaths rose to seven. In Italy, officials said a third person infected with the flu-like virus had died, while the number of cases jumped to above 150 from just three before Friday.

In a sign of panic, US stock futures were sold with E-minis for the S&P500 falling 1.2% in early Asian trade while Nikkei futures slipped over 2%. EuroStoxx 50 futures declined 1.5% while futures for London`s FTSE skidded 1%. Asian share indexes were also a sea of red.

Australias benchmark index slid 2.2% while New Zealand was about 1.3% lower. South Koreas KOSPI index fell about 3%. Chinese shares opened down with the blue-chip CSI300 index easing 0.6%. That left MSCI`s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan off 1.6% at its lowest since early February. Japanese markets were closed for a public holiday.

Despite losses since Friday, the greenback rose 1.7% last week and is still up 2.7% so far this year.
The Australian dollar, considered a liquid proxy for China plays, was down 0.3% as it languished near an 11-year low.

The euro eased a tad to $1.0828. That left the dollar index slightly higher at 99.489.

In commodities, oil prices slid as investors fretted about crude demand being pinched by the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, while leading producers appeared to be in no rush to curb output.
Brent crude slumped 3%, or $1.77, to $56.72 a barrel while U.S. crude dropped 2.7%, or $1.48, to $51.9 a barrel.

US gold futures climbed 1% to $1,665.1 an ounce. Spot gold jumped to a seven-year high of 1,678.58 after marking its biggest weekly gain last week since early August.

Notably, the virus has killed 2,442 people in China, which has reported 76,936 cases, and slammed the brakes on the world`s second largest economy. It has spread to some 28 other countries and territories, with a death toll of around two dozen, according to a Reuters tally.

Economists have roundly downgraded growth forecasts for China as well as the world as travel restrictions and lockdowns have already hit tourism, supply chain and factory output in a number of countries.

Oxford Economics estimated world economic output growth would fall to nearly zero in the first half of 2020 if the coronavirus outbreak became a global pandemic.

On Friday, Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and National Stock Exchange (NSE) of India remained closed on account of Hindu festival Mahashivaratri, which is celebrated annually in honour of Lord Shiva. There was no trading in money and bond markets as well as wholesale commodity markets, including metal and bullion.