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Benchmark stock market indices fell sharply on Friday as losses in pharma stocks overshadowed early gains in the energy segment. Investors remain concerned about the Omicron variant of coronavirus that continues to create panic in global markets.

The S&P BSE Sensex ended over 760 points lower, down 1.31 per cent at the end of today’s trading session, while the NSE Nifty 50 fell 1.18 per cent to end just below 17,200. Both indexes were, however, on course for their best week in seven.

AK Prabhakar, head of research at IDBI Capital, told news agency Reuters that there is some negativity in the market as the Omicron variant is causing some fears. He, however, added that the breadth of the market remained positive.

Aishvarya Dadheech, fund manager at Ambit Asset Management, suggested that the volatility in the markets is mainly because of uncertainty around the new coronavirus variant and due to pressure from foreign institutional investors selling.

Some of the underperformers today were FMCG, auto, pharma and bank stocks as investors booked profits amid concerns over the impact of the new coronavirus variant on the global economy.

The top losers on Nifty were Power Grid Corporation, Reliance Industries, Tech Mahindra, Asian Paints and Kotak Mahindra Bank. On the other hand, UPL, BPCL, ONGC, IOC and L&T gained.

Rising inflation is among the other major concerns that has made investors nervous. Another factor why markets gave up gains could be the upcoming monetary policy review meeting, where the RBI could introduce measures to tackle inflation.

“RBI’s monetary policy meeting will be a key market driver as investors await a policy decision that is broadly expected to hold an accommodative stance considering the uncertainty surrounding the new variant,” Vinod Nair, head of research at Geojit Financial Services, said in a note.

On the global front, stock markets have seen a dip due to concerns over rising inflation and the possible impact of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus.

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India today

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