Record 2, 1004 deaths from Covid-19 dampen investor sentiment, rupee tumbles below 75 a dollar
A global record of more than 300,000 Covid-19 infections in the last 24 hours dragged markets down into the red on Thursday with the Sensex slipping over 500 points in early trade.
After falling 501 points in the opening session, the 30-share S&P BSE index was trading 463.36 points or 0.97 per cent lower at 47,242.44. The broader NSE Nifty tanked 130.10 points or 0.91 per cent to 14,166.30.
IndusInd Bank was the top loser in the Sensex pack, shedding over 3 per cent, followed by Asian Paints, Axis Bank, HUL, M&M, Tech Mahindra, Bajaj Finance, Reliance Industries and HDFC Bank. On the other hand, Dr Reddy’s, Sun Pharma, ONGC, Infosys and HDFC were among the gainers.
According to VK Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services, a storm-like resurgence of Covid cases is impacting the economy as well as market sentiments. Localised lockdowns and severe restrictions on movements are sure to take a toll on the expected GDP growth for FY22. “Uncertainty has impacted sentiments and the sustained selling by FIIs in April is a reflection of this concern,” he says.
India recorded over 3.14 lakh new infections on Thursday, which pushed the tally of Covid-19 cases to 1,59,30,965, according to the Union health ministry. Fatalities too reached a record high of 2,104 in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 1,84,657.
The national Covid-19 recovery rate fell below 85 per cent on Thursday. Registering a steady increase for the 43rd day in a row, the active cases have increased to 22,91,428 comprising 14.38 per cent of the total infections, while the national Covid-19 recovery rate has dropped to 84.46 per cent. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,34, 54,880. The case fatality rate dropped to 1.16 per cent on Thursday, the ministry says.
Hospitals across northern and western India, including New Delhi, have issued notices, saying that they have only a few hours of medical oxygen required to keep the admitted Covid patients alive.
A total of 1,84,657 deaths have been reported so far in the country, including 61,911 from Maharashtra, 13,762 from Karnataka ,13,258 from Tamil Nadu, 12,887 from Delhi, 10,710 from West Bengal, 10,346 from Uttar Pradesh, 8,114 from Punjab and 7,510 from Andhra Pradesh.
The health ministry stresses that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities. “Our figures are being reconciled with the Indian Council of Medical Research,” the ministry says on its website, adding that state-wise distribution of figures is subject to further verification and reconciliation.
Rupee in Red
The rupee opened on a weak note and fell below the 75 per US dollar level in early trade on Thursday as investors fretted over the prospects of stricter lockdown in some parts of the country amid the surge in Covid-19 cases.
Moreover, foreign fund outflows, and heavy selling in domestic equities weighed on the domestic currency. At the interbank foreign exchange, the rupee opened at 75.25 then lost further ground and fell to 75.26 against the US dollar, showing a decline of 38 paise over its previous closing.
The Indian rupee on Tuesday had closed at 74.88 against the US dollar. The dollar index, which gauges the greenback's strength against a basket of six currencies, fell 0.04 per cent to 91.12.
Bourses in Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo were trading on a positive note in mid-session deals, while Shanghai was in the red. Bourses on the Wall Street too ended with gains in overnight trade.
The international oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.40 per cent lower at $65.06 per barrel.