New COVID19 strain spooks markets | Sensex sinks 1,407 pts; investors lose Rs 6.6 lakh cr

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Snapping its six-session record-setting streak, equity benchmark Sensex crashed 1,407 points on Monday as a new strain of the coronavirus in the UK clobbered global markets and cast a cloud over the economic recovery expected next year.

A sharp drop in the rupee and profit-booking after the recent rally added to the selling pressure on Dalal Street, traders said.

The 30-share BSE Sensex plunged 1,406.73 points or 3 per cent to close at 45,553.96. This was its biggest single-day fall since May 4 this year.

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty tanked 432.15 points or 3.14 per cent to finish at 13,328.40.

All Sensex components ended in the red, with ONGC leading the pack by tumbling 9.15 per cent.

IndusInd Bank, M&M, SBI, NTPC, ITC, Axis Bank and PowerGrid shed up to 6.98 per cent.

The market capitalisation of all BSE-listed companies dropped by Rs 6.59 lakh crore to stand at Rs 178.79 lakh crore.

European markets swooned while safe-haven assets like gold and the US dollar strengthened after the UK government reported a new strain of the coronavirus that was up to 70 per cent more contagious. The UK imposed a fresh lockdown in London and southeast England, warning that the potent new strain of the COVID-19 virus was “out of control”.