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What changed for the market while you were sleeping? Top 12 things to know

Trends on SGX Nifty indicate a negative opening for the index in India with a 222 points loss.

March 30, 2020 / 07:33 AM IST

The bears maintained their stronghold on the markets for the sixth consecutive week that ended on March 27. It made some recovery after the Rs 1.7 lakh crore welfare package announced by the Finance Ministry and the Rs 3.7 lakh crore liquidity stimulus package from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) soothed sentiment.

However, benchmark indices underperformed their global peers as investors remained cautious over growth after a 21-day nationwide lockdown was announced earlier in the week to stop the spread of COVID-19.

While the BSE Sensex was down 100.37 points at 29,815.59, the Nifty50 dropped 85.20 points to 8,660.25. The carnage was much worse in the broader markets as the Nifty Midcap and Smallcap indices plunged 7-8 percent.

Stay tuned to Moneycontrol to find out what happens in currency and equity markets today. We have collated a list of important headlines across news platforms which could impact Indian as well as international markets:

US Markets

Wall Street stocks tumbled on Friday, ending a massive three-day surge after doubts about the fate of the US economy resurfaced and the number of coronavirus cases in the country climbed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 4.06% to end at 21,636.78 points, while the S&P 500 lost 3.37% to 2,541.47. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.79% to 7,502.38.

Asian Markets

Asian shares slid on Monday and oil prices took another tumble as fears mounted that the global shutdown for the coronavirus could last for months, doing untold harm to economies. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan eased 0.2%, while South Korea shed 2.7%.

SGX Nifty

Trends on SGX Nifty indicate a negative opening for the index in India with a 222 points loss. The Nifty futures were trading at 8,417 on the Singaporean Exchange around 07:30 hours IST.

TRAI grants six weeks additional time to telcos to file monthly, quarterly reports

Telecom regulator TRAI has given six weeks additional time to telecom companies to file monthly and quarterly reports that are otherwise due in April, a senior official said on Sunday. The decision comes within days of industry body COAI writing to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for granting additional time to telecom companies to file such reports, citing massive efforts being undertaken by them to overcome "numerous operational challenges" in order to keep vital networks up and running amid the 21-day nationwide lockdown to counter the spread of coronavirus.

"TRAI considered the request of COAI in view of the prevailing circumstances, and agreed to extend the time to submit monthly and quarterly reports due in April by six weeks," TRAI Secretary SK Gupta said.

Crude oil futures slide as pandemic darkens demand outlook

Crude oil benchmarks dropped on Monday, extending last week’s losses as the global coronavirus pandemic worsened and the Saudi Arabia-Russia price war showed no signs of abating. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures hit a low of $19.92 in early trading and last traded down 5.2%, or $1.12, at $20.39 a barrel as of 2332 GMT, while Brent futures fell 5.6%, or $1.40, to $23.53 a barrel.

FPIs pull out over Rs 1 lakh cr in March

As the coronavirus pandemic is triggering fears of a global recession, foreign investors have started rowing back from the Indian capital markets by withdrawing a massive over Rs 1 lakh crore in March after remaining net buyers for six consecutive months. In order to contain the spread of coronavirus, lockdowns have become a norm world over and have led the FPIs to adopt a cautious stance, market experts said.

The depositories data showed that a net amount of Rs 59,377 crore was pulled out from equities and Rs 52,811 crore was withdrawn from the debt segment by foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) between March 2-27.

Canada pumps Can$200 billion into virus-stricken economy

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced a series of measures to boost the Canadian economy, almost doubling the amount of the aid pledged just two days ago to more than Can$200 billion. The measures include a 75 percent wage subsidy for small and medium business employees affected by the coronavirus crisis, and a series of grants, tax deferrals, lines of credit and low-interest loans to Canadian businesses.

They followed an announcement that the Bank of Canada is lowering a key interest rate to 0.25 percent as part of a drive to cushion the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The aid package was announced as a parliamentary report out Friday forecast a 5.1 percent contraction of Canada's economy in 2020, the worst since 1962, with a whopping 25 percent second quarter contraction.

Senate passes $2.2 trillion rescue package

Acting with exceptional resolve in an extraordinary time, the House rushed President Donald Trump a $2.2 trillion rescue package Friday, tossing a life preserver to a US economy and health care system left flailing by the coronavirus pandemic. The House approved the sweeping measure by a voice vote, as strong majorities of both parties lined up behind the most colossal economic relief bill in the nation's history.

It will ship payments of up to $1,200 to millions of Americans, bolster unemployment benefits, offer loans, grants and tax breaks to businesses large and small and flush billions more to states, local governments and the nation's all but overwhelmed health care system.

We have entered recession: IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva

The coronavirus pandemic has driven the global economy into a downturn that will require massive funding to help developing nations, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said on March 27. "It is clear that we have entered a recession" that will be worse than the one witnessed in 2009 following the global financial crisis, she said in an online press briefing.

Forex reserves fall by $12 bn : RBI data

The country's foreign exchange reserves fell by a whopping $11.98 billion to $469.909 billion in the week to March 20 as the Reserve Bank continued to supply dollars into the market to stem fall in the rupee. The rupee hit an all-time low of 76.15 against the US dollar on March 23 as foreign investors continued to withdraw money from domestic equity and debt market amid uncertainties due to the fast-spreading coronavirus.

In the previous week, the country's foreign exchange reserves fell by $ 5.346 billion to $ 481.89 billion. This was the first decline in the country's reserve in almost six months.

Bank of Canada lowers rate to 0.25% amid coronavirus crisis

The Bank of Canada on Friday lowered a key interest rate to 0.25 percent as part of a drive to cushion the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

"This unscheduled rate decision brings the policy rate to its effective lower bound and is intended to provide support to the Canadian financial system and the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic," the bank said of the change in the so-called overnight lending rate.

Rupee settles 27 paise higher at 74.89 against US dollar

The rupee pared its initial gains to settle 27 paise higher at 74.89 (provisional) against the US dollar on Friday after the RBI announced various measures to stimulate growth amid coronavirus-induced lockdown in the country. Forex traders said stimulus measures announced by the RBI and FPIs turning net buyers in capital markets boosted investor sentiment.

However, there are still concerns over the impact of coronavirus outbreak on the domestic as well as the global economy. The rupee opened on a positive note at 74.60 and touched a high of 74.35 in late morning trade. Later it erased the gains to end 27 paise higher at 74.89 against the American currency.

GDP likely to grow just 2% in 2020-21: ICRA

Despite the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) massive actions to spur the economy, India's gross domestic product (GDP) is likely to contract by 4.5 percent in the April-June 2020 quarter and will rise by only 2 percent in 2020-21 on the coronavirus impact, according to domestic rating agency Icra. While announcing a number of measures in the policy review, the RBI refrained from giving its estimate on both growth and inflation, saying things are fluid and rapidly changing.

The Indian economy was already supposed to clock a decadal low growth of 5 percent in 2019-20, according to official estimates, and the coronavirus-related worries have only compounded the problems. "Regardless of the measures announced now by the RBI, we are lowering our base case scenario for GDP growth to (-) 4.5 percent for Q1 FY2021 and to 2 percent for FY21," Icra said in a note on Friday.

FII and DII data

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) bought shares worth Rs 355.78 crore, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought shares of worth Rs 1,703.72 crore in the Indian equity market on March 27, provisional data available on the NSE showed.

With inputs from Reuters & other agencies

Sandip Das
first published: Mar 30, 2020 07:27 am