Global markets are in turmoil as the relentless rise in the number of coronavirus cases continues. On Thursday, the key Indian equity indices had a roller-coaster ride of their own. The S&P BSE Sensex fell over 7.5% to touch its day’s low of 26,714.46 points. The NSE’s Nifty 50 fell over 7.5% to touch its lowest in the day at 7,832.55 points.

The broader indices apart, the S&P BSE MidCap and SmallCap both fell over 7.2% to touch their day’s lows of 10,303.26 points and 9.449.35 points, respectively. All the four indices, at their day’s low, recorded their new 52-week lows.

At the end of Thursday’s trade, despite closing in the red, the indices did recover some of their losses. While the Sensex closed down 2%, Nifty 50 closed 2.4% lower. The S&P BSE MidCap dropped 3.7% to end the day at 10,694.34 points, while the BSE SmallCap plunged 4.5% to close at 9721.90 points.

In the respective case of the Sensex and Nifty 50, which touched their life-highs on January 20 this year, today’s new 52-week low points mark a decline of 15,559.4 points (-36.81%) and 4,597.95 points (-36.99%) respectively.

As on March 19, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) are net sellers in equity to the tune of ₹44,924.83 crore ($6.09 billion), as compared to net inflow of ₹36,841.27 crore ($5.23 billion) in the same period last year.

Ajit Mishra, vice president – research, Religare Broking, says that weak global sentiments combined with continuous FPI outflow triggered a gap-down start. “The rising coronavirus cases in India further added to the pessimism,” he said. Mishra also highlighted that the pace of decline is steeper when compared to the fall in 2008.

He attributes it to the unexpected event of coronavirus unfolding while the global economies were already reeling under pressure. “We might see Nifty (50) finding some solace around 7,600,” Mishra added. However, it could be a temporary relief, given the prevailing negative sentiment.

Meanwhile, Siddhartha Khemka, head - retail research, Motilal Oswal Financial Services, sees no sign of reversal, with the Nifty continuing its fall towards 7,900, and then 7,500 levels. Khemka believes that with the rising cases of coronavirus, volatility is likely to continue.

“In such times, traders should refrain taking long positions as all the global markets are in strong bear grip,” he said. His advises long-term investors with good quality stocks to hold on to their portfolios and see them through the current storm.

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