Sensex down 1,200 points, Nifty trades below 16,550 on Omicron fears

New Delhi: The continued spread of the Omicron version of the coronavirus has shaken investor sentiment as they suffered heavy losses in Monday morning trading.

Major domestic equity benchmark Sensex fell over 1,200 points, while Nifty 50 index fell 396 points below its crucial psychological level of 16,550 amid a selloff in global markets.
Of the 30 Sensex constituents, 25 were in the red led by Tata Steel, Bajaj Finance and SBI. On the flipside, Dr Reddy’s Labs, Sun Pharma, Wipro, TCS and Power Grid were the only gainers, rising up to 0.4 per cent.

The 30-share index closed 1,028.61 points or 1.80 per cent lower at 55,983.13 in early trade. Similarly, the Nifty closed at 16,677.70, down 307.50 points or 1.81 per cent.

In the broader markets, the midcap and smallcap indices each account for about 2.5 percent.

Frequent foreign fund outflows also weighed on investor sentiment.

On the other hand, Sun Pharma was the only gainer. In the previous session, the 30-share equity benchmark ended 889.40 points or 1.54 per cent lower at 57,011.74. Similarly, the NSE Nifty closed at 16,985.20, down 263.20 points or 1.53 per cent.

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) remained net sellers in the capital market as they sold shares worth Rs 2,069.90 crore on Friday, according to stock exchange data.

VK Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist, Geojit Financial Services, said rising inflation, central banks, explosion in Covid-19 cases, sustained selling by FIIs and slow growth in developed economies shook the markets last week.

“These negative factors persist, leading to further downside concerns in the market, especially if FIIs continue to sell. But negative feelings are unlikely to last long. The Omicron variant, although spreading rapidly, has not proved to be as highly virulent as feared. Besides, FIIs will soon become buyers when valuations become attractive,” he said.
Elsewhere in Asia, shares in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul were trading with heavy losses in mid-session deals as concerns over a resurgence of Covid-19 cases weighed on global sentiment.

Omicron’s spread saw the Netherlands go into lockdown on Sunday and pressure others to follow it, although the United States was prepared to remain open.

Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude fell 2.45 per cent to $71.72 a barrel.