March 19, 2020 / 3:43 AM / 9 days ago

Indian stocks trim losses, but languish at multi-year lows

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective mask walks past the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai, India, March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas/File photo

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian stocks closed lower for a fourth straight day on Thursday as a sharp late-afternoon surge failed to reverse deep losses from earlier in the session.

The Nifty settled down 2.42% at 8,263.45, while the Sensex closed 2.01% lower at 28,288. Both indexes closed at levels last seen in 2017.

The indexes tumbled as much 7.5% earlier in the session, as measures unleashed by major governments and central banks failed to reassure investors worried over a global recession fueled by the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak.

Indian equities have crashed more than 26% so far in March as the virus, which originated in China, has claimed thousands of lives, forced authorities to lock down cities and hammered economic activity.

In India, several states have closed malls, schools, pubs and government offices in a bid to stop the spread of the virus. As of Thursday, there were more than 130 cases reported in India with three deaths.

Shares of Bharti Infratel Ltd and Coal India were the top losers on the Nifty index, slipping 17.2% and 14.8%, respectively.

The Nifty Auto index closed 6.09% lower, recouping from an 8.6% tumble earlier.

The Nifty bank index rebounded from an over 9% plunge to finish the session 2.4% lower, while the Nifty PSU Bank index closed 2.8% down after falling as much as 6.6%.

Shares of ITC Ltd ended 7.4% higher, while Bharti Airtel rose 4.5%, among the handful of gainers.

Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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