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Mumbai, March 18, 2020
Sell-off intensified in the Indian stock market on Wednesday afternoon, as both Sensex and Nifty dropped to their lowest levels in three years.
Bears became active minutes after the indices opened on a positive note.
The BSE Sensex plunged over 1,700 points and fell below the psychological 29,000-mark, while the Nifty on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) closed below 8,500.
Sensex closed at 28,869.51, lower by 1709.58 points or 5.59 per cent from the previous close of 30,579.09. It had opened at 30,968.84 and touched an intra-day high of 31,101.77 earlier in the day. It touched an intra-day low of 28,613.05.
The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchanges settled at 8,468.80, lower by 498.25 points or 5.56 per cent from its previous close.
The sector-wide sell-off in the Indian markets was led by heavy selling in banking and finance stocks.
On the Sensex, IndusInd Bank lost the most, by nearly 24 per cent, followed by Power Grid (down 11.29 per cent), Kotak Mahindra Bank (11.23 per cent), Bajaj Finance (11.11 per cent) and HDFC Bank (9.92 per cent), while ONGC (up 9.83 per cent), Yes Bank (3.37 per cent) and ITC (0.97 per cent) were the only gainers on the index.
Foreign fund outflow played the major role during the day's bear trade on the Indian indices. Foreign institutional investors pulled out Rs 5,085.35 crore during the day while on the contrary, domestic institutional investors bought invested Rs 3,636.44 crore.
The slump was witnessed across global financial markets. Further, commodity markets also declined during the led by a crash in oil prices.
Crude oil prices continued its free fall on Wednesday with the WTI crude of US falling below the $24 per barrel mark. Currently, the West Texas intermediate (WTI) crude is trading at $23.76 per barrel, lower by nearly 12 per cent from its previous close.
Brent crude oil is at $26.65 a barrel, falling 7.2 per cent from its previous closing level.
The persistent selling can be attributed to both rise in supplies and declining demand. The coronavirus pandemic has almost brought global travel industry to a halt, limiting demand for the commodity.
Along with oil prices, other commodities have also been under pressure both in the global and domestic markets.
Gold futures on the Multi-Commodity Exchange are currently around Rs 39,720 per 10 gram lower by 1.3 per cent. In the US, gold futures are trading over two per cent lower at $1,492.50 per troy ounce. Silver futures are at $12.123 per troy ounce lower nearly two per cent from its previous close.