Amid virus scare, bulls & bears fight it out on D-Street

Asia's Tech News Daily

Sensex, Nifty50, Dalal Street, Nifty, Stock market

Mumbai: India’s stock benchmarks ended marginally higher on Monday after swinging between gains and losses as investors braced for uncertain days ahead in the wake of the new Covid-19 variant. While the rebound came as a breather for the market after last week’s selloff that led to a 4 per cent decline in the main indices, sentiment remains edgy amid concerns that fresh outbreaks could result in governments resorting to curbs again.

The BSE Sensex gained 153.43 points, or 0.3 per cent, to close at 57,260.58. The NSE Nifty 50 rose 27.50 points, or 0.2 per cent, to end at 17,053.95. Both indices had fallen as much as 1.4 per cent earlier on Monday but rebounded sharply as the Nifty reached 16,800 levels with traders squaring off some of their bearish bets. Analysts expect the Nifty’s support level to give the market some cushion unless a fresh bout of selling pushes it further below.

Sensex, Nifty50, Dalal Street, Nifty, Stock market

Most Asian markets ended weak, while European equities climbed despite the World Health Organization warning on Monday that the Covid-19 Omicron variant poses a “very high” risk globally. “The emergence of a new Covid variant poses a near-term risk to our constructive outlook on Asia,” said Morgan Stanley economists including Chetan Ahya in a note.

“If this variant proves to be as or more challenging than the Delta variant, we see a high risk of selective lockdowns, which would have a bigger growth impact,” the note said.

Not Hitting the Panic Button Yet

Investors aren’t in panic mode yet as they try to get a sense of the new variant’s impact. The recent decline has however been sharp with the Nifty and Sensex falling almost 8 per cent from their October peaks as the markets had run up too fast, resulting in stretched share valuations.

“We are not bearish but the market had been very resilient and there was a high degree of exuberance in the IPO market,” said Hugh Young, chairman of Aberdeen Standard Investments Asia. “With valuations far from cheap and new Covid strains, it’s not surprising we’ve seen a pullback.” While researchers are trying to understand the impact of Omicron, and if the existing vaccines are strong enough to resist the spread, governments are restricting travel from select countries and are heightening surveillance. India has introduced new rules for travelers as have other countries.

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