Indian markets came under pressure as Wall Street's major averages tumbled more than 1.5% on Friday as investors got spooked by the deadly Coronavirus spread and its impact on the global economy and mixed corporate earnings of US firms. The BSE opened on a weaker note with benchmark Sensex down nearly 200 points to 40,444 while NSE Nifty 50 plunged by 0.16%.
Among the top gainers, Hindustan Unilever rose 2% on hopes that the Union Budget 2020 will pump up stimulus and focus on job creation that will help lift demand for FMCG goods. Ultra Cement also rose 1.15% as hopes are up for greater infrastructure spending and possible new stimulus to the housing sector. Tech Mahindra, PowerGrid, Tata Steel, NTPC, Kotak Bank and HCL Tech were among the top laggards, shedding up to 3%.
In the previous session, Sensex settled 190.33 points, or 0.47%, lower at 40,723.49, after the Economic Survey suggested relaxing fiscal deficit target to boost growth from a decade low. Likewise, the broader NSE Nifty shed 73.70 points, or 0.61%, to finish at 11,962.10.
Risk aversion has risen among global investors as coronavirus reaches countries way beyond China and countries scramble to cease transportation links with it. Wall Street sealed its worst week in six months. After suffering its biggest one-day percentage decline since October 2, the S&P SPX 500 was down more than 3% from its closing high hit earlier in January, as businesses struggle with supply problems from the coronavirus epidemic that has killed 259 people in China and has been declared a global emergency.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.09% to 28,256.03, while tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite IXIC dropped 148.00 points, or 1.59%, to 9,150.94.
This year's Budget assumes tremendous significance as the Indian economy is facing multiple challenges such as a rise in inflation, unemployment, farmer distress and a dip in GDP growth. The government has taken inputs from multiple stakeholders. Sitharaman has also announced a series of reform measures in the last few months to give a boost to the economy.
(Representation Image Credit: AP)