Sinking to its lowest level in 21 months, the market benchmark Sensex today crashed 807 points to drop below 23,000-mark as concerns over global economy and mounting bad loans wiped off over Rs 3 lakh crore from the wealth of panic-stricken investors.
Marking the eighth biggest single-day fall, the Sensex closed 807.07 points down at 22,951.83 -- a new low for the index during the current NDA regime and the lowest since May 8, 2014 -- when the Lok Sabha elections were underway that saw BJP-led alliance sweeping to power.
Putting the blame for the fall on global factors, the government today sought to put a brave face saying the fall in market benchmarks this year has been just about 10 per cent as against much higher declines in other markets.
However, the Sensex has come off more than 23 per cent from its all-time peak of over 30,000, scaled nearly a year ago on March 4, 2015.
A fall of 20 per cent from an all-time peak is considered as a ‘bear market’—a term used for a sustained slide.
Experts said the global headwinds remain a major concern but the domestic woes, including ballooning NPAs being reported by the banks and weak quarterly earnings in various other sectors, have added to the market weakness.
In today’s session itself, the total investor wealth— measured in terms of cumulative value of all listed stocks on BSE—slumped by over Rs 3 lakh crore—taking the total loss since start of the week to nearly Rs 7 lakh crore.
Since the all-time peak, the total investors’ wealth has come down by close to Rs 20 lakh crore and now stands at about Rs 86 lakh crore.
“Relentless selling in the stock market is coming from redemption pressures, margin calls, crude slumping to multi-year lows, depreciating rupee against dollar and disappointing earnings,” said Gaurav Jain, Director of Hem Securities.
NSE’s Nifty also saw its biggest fall in six months to end at a 21-month low of 6,976.35.
Besides, gold prices soared to a 18-month high, tracking gains in global markets as safe assets’ appeal rose while the rupee also regained 68-mark against the US dollar.
Weak earnings from public and private sectors banks on account of higher provisioning for bad loans mainly affected the market sentiment, a broker said.
SBI today reported a plunge of over 67 per cent in its third-quarter net profits while a number of other banks have also reported weak results on worsening bad loan scenario.
Other Asian markets also ended weak following US Federal Reserve Janet Yellen’s testimony which suggested that the bank is likely to continue on the gradual rate hike path.