March 16, 2020 / 3:16 AM / 25 days ago

Sensex, Nifty crash as global rate cuts fail to calm nerves

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian stocks plunged on Monday, closing nearly 8% lower, as moves by central banks across the globe to cut interest rates failed to calm nerves about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the global economy.

The Bombay Stock Exchange building is seen from a facade in Mumbai, India, May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas/Files

The U.S. Federal Reserve slashed interest rates in its second emergency move this month, while its major peers offered cheap U.S. dollars in a bid to prevent global lending markets from collapsing.

“Major concern is about the steps being taken to contain the virus spread by the government, stimulus is not something that is enough to calm nerves right now,” said Siddhartha Khemka, head of retail research at Motilal Oswal Securities.

Europe, which has become the centre of the outbreak now, saw its main stock markets plunge nearly 8% in brutal opening trade. Earlier, Wall Street futures had hit their down-limit in the first 15 minutes of Asian trading as investors rushed for safety.

India central bank governor is scheduled to hold a press conference later in the day with many market participants expecting a rate cut.

The NSE Nifty 50 index closed down 7.61% at 9,197.40 while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex settled 7.96% lower at 31,390.07.

India’s volatility index jumped 16.3%, to its highest in over a decade.

The rupee was trading about 0.6% weaker at 74.31 against the dollar by 0945 GMT. It had fallen to a record low of 74.5075 earlier in the session.

Shares of Indusind Bank Ltd led losses in Mumbai, closing 18.35% lower while lender Housing Development Finance Corp Ltd closed over 10% lower.

The Nifty Metal index crashed 9.5% with miner JSW Steel Ltd sliding nearly 15%.

Meanwhile, shares of Yes Bank jumped over 58% to see its best session ever as India approved a rescue plan for the troubled lender.

Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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