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Sensex, Nifty Plunge Around 13 Percent On Virus Worries

Indian shares tanked on Monday, with key benchmark indexes Sensex and Nifty plummeting around 13 percent to suffer their biggest single-day fall ever, after the world's second-most populous nation went into a lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus cases in the country.

At least 80 cities across the country have decided to impose some form of lockdown until March 31 as the number of coronavirus cases in the country surpassed 400.

T. Jacob John, the former head of the Indian Council for Medical Research's Centre for Advanced Research in Virology, reportedly warned the virus could spread to as much as 10 percent of India's 1.3 billion population.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML) has cut its India growth forecast by 90 basis points to 3.1 percent from 4 percent in the March quarter, and said that
a month's shutdown will cost about 50 bps of annual GDP.

The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex plunged 3,934.72 points, or 13.15 percent, to 25,981.24, wiping out Rs 13.95 lakh crore of investors' wealth from the BSE listed companies.

The broader NSE Nifty index ended down 1,135.20 points, or 12.98 percent, at 7,610.25, a level last seen nearly four years ago.

The Sensex gave up as much as 4,035 points and the Nifty 50 index slumped 1,162 points earlier in the day. Trading was curbed in the first hour of trade for 45 minutes after the main indexes plunged 10 percent.

Among the prominent decliners, Larsen & Toubro, JSW Steel, Grasim, Maruti Suzuki, ICICI Bank, Zee Entertainment Enterprises, Bajaj Finance, IndusInd Bank, Bajaj FinServ and Axis Bank lost 17-27 percent.

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