Indian shares hammered as UK shuts after new COVID-19 strain

  • Reuters
Indian shares hammered as UK shuts after new COVID-19 strain

By Chandini Monnappa

BENGALURU, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Indian shares suffered their worst day in seven months on Monday in a broad sell-off after fresh lockdowns in the United Kingdom to curb the spread of a new strain of coronavirus hit investor sentiment.

The NSE Nifty 50 index .NSEI ended 3.14% lower at 13,328.40, wiping out six straight sessions of gains up to Friday.

The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex .BSESN fell 3% to 45,553.96.

European shares opened lower at 0800 GMT as investors worried about the economic impact of a new coronavirus strain which has seen several European countries shut their borders to the UK. MKTS/GLOB

"Collective wisdom of the market does fear that the UK situation could snowball into something bigger," said Umesh Mehta, head of research at Samco Securities in Mumbai.

"Everyone was greedy, everyone wanted to ride the momentum, but it is going to trip at some point and we will see a correction."

However, both indexes are still up over 2% this month, boosted by record inflows from foreign institutional investors (FIIs), progress on COVID-19 vaccines globally and signs of a domestic economic recovery.

All the main nifty sub-indexes ended down between 6.9% and 1.7%.

The Nifty Midcap 100 Index .NIFMDCP100 and the Nifty Smallcap 100 Index .NIFSMCP100 closed lower 4.81% and 5.03%, respectively.

All 50 stocks on the main index closed in the red. Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd ONGC.NS fell 9.2% and Tata Motors Ltd TAMO.NS shed 8.86%.

The Nifty Public Sector Enterprise .NIFTYPSE , which tracks state-run firms, settled 6.6% lower and the Nifty PSU Bank index .NIFTYPSU fell 7%.

India announced suspension of all flights from UK to the country until the end of the year. Airlines Interglobe Aviation INGL.NS and SpiceJet Ltd SPJT.NS slid 8.7% and 10% respectively. Nifty IT index .NIFTYIT fell the least among the sub-sectors, finishing the session 1.7% lower.

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