India Assets Drop on Global Risk-Off Move and Lockdown Extension
(Bloomberg) -- Indian stocks fell the most in more than a month on Monday, tracking losses in global peers after U.S. President Donald Trump criticized China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and as the South Asian nation extended its nationwide lockdown. The rupee weakened.
The S&P BSE Sensex tumbled 5.9% to 31,715.35 to mark its steepest drop since March 23, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index slid by a similar magnitude. Both gauges logged their biggest monthly gains since 2009 in April, and have rebounded by nearly 30% from lows touched a month earlier. Stocks dropped globally after Trump on Sunday said that Beijing misled the world about Covid-19. India’s sovereign bonds fell.
Sentiment was also dented after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday extended the stay-at-home orders for two weeks from May 4 even as he eased some restrictions and brainstormed ways to restart activity in Asia’s third-largest economy. India has reported 42,505 Covid-19 infections, and 1,910 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Earnings and the economy will “take time to revive” even if all restrictions are lifted, said Ajit Mishra, research analyst at Religare Broking Ltd. in Mumbai. The government may not ease the curbs “anytime soon considering the number of new cases we’re seeing everyday,” he said.
Reliance Industries Ltd., India’s biggest company by market value, on Friday posted a 40% drop in fourth-quarter profit while Hindustan Unilever Ltd. marked a 7% decline in sales volume amid global lockdowns to combat the virus. Nine of the Nifty 50 companies have posted earnings so far for the January to March period.
- Seventeen of 19 sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. dropped, let by a gauge of financial stocks.
- Lenders including IndusInd Bank Ltd. and ICICI Bank Ltd. were among the top losers on the benchmark index.
- Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. were the only gainers on the Sensex index.
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