By Ashwini Agarwal
First publised on 2020-03-09 12:55:44
The twin issues of the rapid spread of coronavirus (and the consequent disruption in business) along with the uncertainty over the future of Yes Bank spooked the stock market big time today with the indices going into a free fall. The Sensex has gone down by over 1600 points intra-day while the Nifty slid by 453 points. The mood is one of despondency as many counters have only sellers.
The Indian markets took their cue from the global bourses. Stock markets the world over were down by anything from 3 to 5 percent as the already slowing world economy was expected to suffer a prolonged downturn due to the travelling bans and shipment rescheduling as a result of the coronavirus scare. As more and more positive cases of the disease come to fore across the globe, business productivity is expected to plunge sharply, leading to companies reporting lower profits or even losses. This has eroded customer confidence.
Closer home, despite assurances from the RBI and the interest shown by the SBI and other investors to seriously take up the rebuilding of the troubled Yes Bank, investor confidence is shaken. The markets were already discounting the continuing slowdown in the economy when the coronavirus scare struck. Now the Yes Bank episode has taken the winds totally out of the bulls' sails. Even the report that Brent crude has tumbled to below $40 a barrel and is expected to touch $30 within a short period has failed to improve sentiments. Foreign investors are selling in a big way and the Indian institutions have not been able to pick up all they are selling.
Equities are expected to be under selling pressure in the coming weeks. Investors would be advised not to go long yet. But if the markets continue to slide, there may come a time in a couple of weeks when some stocks will be available at a price too attractive to ignore. That would be the right time for any long term player to make his or her move.