Over the last five trading sessions since Feb. 20, the S&P BSE Sensex has lost over 1,577.34 points (-3.82%) while the Nifty 50 has lost over 492 points (-4.06%) over coronavirus concerns.

On Thursday, Feb. 27, the Sensex opened at 39,347.8 points which incidentally remained the day’s high for the 30-stock benchmark index. At the day’s low of 39,423.27 the Sensex fell over 465 points (1.17%), only to recover to close at 39,745.66 points, losing over 143 points (-0.36%) over the previous day’s close of 39,888.96 points.

The Nifty 50 closed the day’s trade at 11,633.3 points—over 45 points (-0.39%) lower than Wednesday’s the close (day’s high: 11,663.85; day’s low: 11,536.7).

Beyond the benchmark indices, the S&P BSE MidCap and S&P BSE SmallCap also showed a similar trend, except that both indices saw a negative close over the last four trading days. Yet, since Feb. 24, the MidCap and SmallCap indices have lost over 622 points (-3.96%) and 537 points (-3.7%) respectively.

The MidCap and SmallCap on Thursday closed lower by over 98 points (-0.65%) and 119 points (-0.83%) respectively compared to their closing values on Feb. 26. At the day’s low, the MidCap and SmallCap had lost over 216 points (-1.43%) and 264 points (-1.85%) respectively.

According to Ajit Mishra, VP, research at Religare Broking, the Indian equity indices continued the downward trend for the fifth consecutive session on the expiry day echoing the weak global sentiments. “We believe that the Indian markets would continue to track global developments with respect to coronavirus and could exhibit volatility in the near term,” Mishra opines.

On a similar note, Vinod Nair, head of research at Geojit Financial Services, opines that the domestic and global equity market got impacted by the weak expiry of monthly F&O and selling in the global market due to the spread of new coronavirus cases in some parts of the world. “Till last week the market was of the view that coronavirus is going to have only a minimal impact on the global economy as the situation in China was being contained,” says Nair. “But an increase in the number of new cases is changing the view and there are fears of some slowdown in the (domestic) economy,” Nair adds.

According to data from World Health Organisation’s daily status reports on coronavirus, between Feb. 19 and Feb. 26 the number of confirmed cases in China has gone up from 74,280 to 78,191—a 5.3% increase. However, between the same dates, the number of countries which reported coronavirus cases increased from 25 to 37. In terms of the number of cases outside China, the count jumped 215.8% from 924 on Feb. 19 to 2,918 on Feb. 26.

According to Deepak Jasani, head, retail research at HDFC Securities, most Asian and European shares fell again on Thursday, with travel stocks taking the biggest knock, as a jump in new coronavirus cases outside of China deepened fears of a pandemic that could dent global growth.

“Shares fell in Asia on Thursday after President Donald Trump announced (that) the U.S. was stepping up its efforts to combat the virus outbreak that began in China,” says Jasani. “European stocks followed Asia’s lead with heavy declines at the start of trading,” he adds. The European countries of Estonia and Denmark both reported their first confirmed cases of coronavirus Thursday morning.

As fears of the virus becoming a pandemic loom, equity market participants are waiting for the GDP data for the quarter ended December 2019 which will be published on Friday. “In these uncertain times, following a stock-specific approach would be more prudent,” Religare Broking’s Mishra advises.

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