Sensex’s five worst single-day trading declines

India's stock markets will remain functional

Mumbai, Indian stock markets witnessed the worst trading week in over a decade as the benchmark BSE Sensex plunged 1,448 points to close at 38,297.29 on Friday, second biggest single-day decline, over the concerns of coronavirus infection turning into a pandemic.

The weakness in the Indian market was in line with the global indices, and according to analysts, this nervousness among investors may continue in the coming week as the number of new cases keep rising outside China.

The Sensex had suffered its worst fall on August 24, 2015, when it plunged 1,624.51 points to close at 25,741.56. Analysts blamed it on the surge in global crude oil prices along with heavy selling in the Chinese stock markets.

The third biggest fall was witnessed on January 21, 2008, when the Sensex fell 1,408.35 points to close at 17,605.35, according to Ace Equity data.

In the same year, on October 24 — another ‘black Friday’ for the global markets — the Sensex slumped 1,070.63 points, the fourth biggest fall, to settle at 8,701.07. It was largely due to the global financial crisis.

The fifth worst fall was recorded on February 1 this year, when the Union Budget for 2020-21 was presented. Disappointment over the budget led the Sensex to decline 987.96 points to close at 39,735.53.

Stating that the risk to the markets increases, Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services, said, “Longer the infection lasts, widespread it gets. The numbers, regarding the spread of the disease, and how far it can be contained will drive the markets next week.”

Siddhartha Khemka, Head of Retail Research at Motilal Oswal Financial Services, said, “Investors are fearful that it might lead to global recession as the outbreak is spreading to the world’s largest economy – the USA as well as Europe.”

Although, in the short-term volatility and further decline is likely, Navneet Munot, CIO of SBI Funds Management, said eventually this could prove a blessing in disguise for India as it would force a quicker rethink on global supply chain reorientation to reduce over-reliance on China.

“India stands ready to benefit from this shift, given the strong reforms of the past few years, provided we continue following up with policy certainty, adequate institutional capacity and right execution,” he said.