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Sensex crashes 1,688 pts as new variant triggers global rout; investors poorer by Rs 7.35 lakh cr

IndusInd Bank was the top loser in the Sensex pack, tanking 6.01 per cent, followed by Maruti, Tata Steel, NTPC, Bajaj Finance, HDFC and Titan.

November 26, 2021 / 06:38 PM IST

The Sensex nosedived 1,688 points while the Nifty slumped below the 17,100-level on Friday as a new and potentially vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant sent shockwaves through global markets.

The variant, detected in South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong so far, has an unusual combination of mutations, as per initial reports. Countries like Britain and Japan have already imposed travel restrictions, raising the spectre of a fresh wave of lockdowns.

The 30-share BSE Sensex plummeted 1,687.94 points or 2.87 per cent to close at 57,107.15 following an across-the-board selloff. Similarly, the NSE Nifty plunged 509.80 points or 2.91 per cent to 17,026.45.

Currency markets too were not spared, with the rupee sinking 37 paise versus the US dollar, in tandem with other emerging market currencies. IndusInd Bank was the top loser in the Sensex pack, tanking 6.01 per cent, followed by Maruti, Tata Steel, NTPC, Bajaj Finance, HDFC and Titan.

Only four counters managed to close in the green — Dr Reddy's, Nestle India, Asian Paints and TCS, spurting up to 3.32 per cent. Investors lost a whopping Rs 7.35 lakh crore in Friday's session, with the market valuation of all BSE-listed companies standing at Rs 2,58,31,172.25 crore.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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"Triggered by the new COVID variant in South Africa, domestic markets plummeted into negative territory following weak global peers. Existing inflation fears coupled with worries of an aggressive policy tightening by the US Fed Reserve also added to today's catastrophic session. "On the domestic front, broad-based sell off was witnessed as investors dumped COVID-sensitive stocks while focus was shifted towards the pharma sector amid growing concerns over the new variant with higher mutations," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.

During the week, the Sensex plunged 2,528.86 points or 4.24 per cent and the Nifty shed 738.35 points or 4.15 per cent. "Markets saw sharp correction this week amid renewed concerns pertaining to COVID….The new variant of COVID is presenting challenges in the form of lockdowns and travel bans.

"Apart from COVID related concerns, inflation remains a worry for countries across the globe. FIIs have been net sellers this week. Equity markets in the near term will closely follow the impact of new COVID variant, inflation data, and central bank policies," said Shrikant Chouhan, Head of Equity Research (Retail), Kotak Securities. Sectorally, BSE realty, metal, auto, basic materials and industrials indices fell as much as 6.42 per cent on Friday, while healthcare ended with gains.

Broader BSE midcap and smallcap indices tumbled up to 3.23 per cent. Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo sank as much as 2.67 per cent.

Stock exchanges in Europe too plunged up to 3.51 per cent in mid-session deals. Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude tanked 5.62 per cent to USD 77.60 per barrel.

Foreign institutional investors remained net sellers in the capital market on Thursday as they offloaded shares worth Rs 2,300.65 crore, as per exchange data.
PTI
first published: Nov 26, 2021 06:38 pm
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