Mumbai: The rising Covid-19 cases in the country which led to lockdown-like restrictions in Maharashtra spooked investors on Monday. Besides, a weak PMI manufacturing print for March added fuel to the fire, further raising concerns about the pace and strength of the economic recovery.
Growth in manufacturing activities slowed to the lowest rate in seven months as increasing Covid cases hit demand. PMI fell from 57.5 in February to 55.4 in March.
Against this backdrop, the frontline S&P BSE Sensex dropped 1,449 points in the intra-day deals to hit a low of 48,581 amid heavy selling in banking, financial services, and realty counters. However, a sharp rally in the IT ahead of the March quarter results gave investors some solace and the index ended 870.5 points, or 1.74 per cent, down at 49,159 levels.
On the NSE, the Nifty50 index recovered 179 points from the day’s low level of 14,459, and settled at 14,638 levels, down 229 points or 1.5 per cent.
Pain in the broader market was lesser relative to benchmarks as the S&P BSE MidCap and SmallCap indices closed 1.13 per cent and 1 per cent, respectively.
Therefore, the overall market breadth on the BSE was in the ratio of 1:2 with two stocks falling against every stock that rose, as against a 1:4 ratio on the 30-share index.
Sectorally, the Nifty PSU Bank index declined 4 per cent on the NSE, while the Nifty Bank, Private Bank, Financial services, Realty, Auto, and Media indices slipped between 2.5 per cent and 3.5 per cent.
On the contrary, the Nifty IT index jumped over 2 per cent and the Nifty Metal index gained 1 per cent in a weak market on the back of strong earnings expectations and solid global cues, respectively.