Sensex crashes over 1,800 points amid fears over Omicron
Top Indian equity indexes crashed on Monday amid global fears over the new Omicron variant of coronavirus. By Monday afternoon, Sensex was down nearly 1,800 points while Nifty 50 dipped 550 points to trade below the benchmark level of 16,450. The trend follows that of stock markets around the world as tighter restrictions are imposed due to Omicron.
Why does this story matter?
This is bad news for investors and economies as analysts predict more curbs and even complete lockdowns in the wake of Omicron's rapid spread. The Netherlands went into a strict nationwide lockdown on Sunday hinting that more countries around the world may follow suit. Omicron now threatens the economic gains made after the deadly COVID-19 outbreaks triggered by the Delta variant.
Most Nifty 50 stocks fall
Most of the shares on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) were trading low. Bajaj Finance plunged the most by 4%. Other stocks which saw a significant drop include JSW Steel, Tata Steel, State Bank of India, Bharat Petroleum, Tata Motors, ONGC, HDFC Bank, Hero MotoCorp, Axis Bank, Tech Mahindra, NTPC, Hindalco, and Bajaj Finserv. All of them fell between 2.5% and 3.6%.
Big losses seen on BSE too
Meanwhile, in the Sensex basket, Tata Steel, IndusInd Bank, Bajaj Finance, State Bank of India (SBI), Kotak Mahindra Bank, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) witnessed the sharpest fall. Hindustan Unilever (HUL) and Dr Reddy's Laboratories were the only gainers.
India's Omicron tally crosses 150
India has reported at least 171 cases of Omicron after Kerala and Delhi logged fresh cases on Monday. In the capital, daily new COVID-19 cases have touched a six-month high and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said all positive samples will be sent to detect the presence of Omicron. Further, experts warn that a third wave of coronavirus infections could hit India in early 2022.