The see-saw battle between the bears and the bulls continued on Dalal Street with the former dominating Wednesday’s session amid a rise in coronavirus cases in India. Worries surrounding a sharp drop in GDP growth rate also hit investor sentiment on Dalal Street.Equity inventors lost Rs 3.19 lakh crore as BSE flagship Sensex tanked 1,203 points to 28,265. Broader NSE Nifty dropped 344 points to 8,254. Here are factors that are likely dragging markets lower:Covid count mountsIndia has reported a sharp rise in new coronavirus cases in the last couple of days, indicating a community transmission. The country has reported nearly 1,400 confirmed cases of Covid-19 including 35 deaths and 123 discharged patients. Given a fragile healthcare system, if India is unable to keep the number of cases low, it could be catastrophic. Meanwhile, globally, the number of cases surged to 8,60,181 with 42,345 deaths. The US government is expecting over 1,00,000 deaths from the virus.FPIs flee Indian marketsForeign portfolio investors (FPIs) pulled a record $15.9 billion or Rs 1.2 lakh crore out of the Indian debt and equity markets in March–the most in Asia–according to NSDL data.Foreign trading desks have come under heavy pressure from redemption of ETFs held by their clients. Heavy selling by them has dampened the spirit in Indian markets.Auto sales downMost auto companies reported a sharp drop in sales, mainly because showrooms and factories have been shut due to lockdown.Maruti Suzuki India has reported total sales of 83,792 units in March 2020, over 158,076 units sold in March 2019–a drop of 47 per cent. Ashok Leyland reported 90 per cent decline in total vehicles sales at 2,179 units in March. The company had sold 21,535 units in the same month last year, Ashok Leyland said in a regulatory filing.Following this, shares of auto companies fell. Nifty Auto index dropped 2 per cent to 4,638. Fear of defaults looms largeMore than Rs 60,000 crore of interest and principal on non-convertible debentures (NCDs) issued by corporates are coming up for payment in the next one month. Many companies which have low cash reserves are staring at a default in payments if lockdown continues going ahead.Meanwhile, many large listed companies have requested bond trustees in the last 24 hours to reschedule the dates of payments of debt securities they had floated.Global markets in redMost major global markets also traded in the red. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan erased gains to trade 0.33 per cent lower. Shares in South Korea, hit hard by the virus, fell 1.34 per cent.Japanese shares fell 3.48 per cent as a rapid increase in infections in Tokyo fuelled speculation the government would place the capital on lockdown.US and European futures foretold opening losses by these markets. E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 slumped 2.27 per cent as dire predictions of more virus casualties in the United States weighed on sentiment.Futures in Europe were also battered with Euro Stoxx 50 futures down 2.99 per cent, German DAX futures off 2.89 per cent and FTSE futures falling 3.09 per cent.
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