Business Today

Investing in Times of Coronavirus

There has been a bloodbath in stock markets globally. Indian equity indices are no different. The trigger is the rapid spread of coronavirus that is leading to shutdown of businesses, lockdown of big industrial towns, even entire countries (such as Italy), apart from snapping of supply chains, across continents. A further spread will trigger an even sharper correction, say experts. “At the start of the year, only companies with dominant China exposure were affected. Later, as the pandemic spread, stock prices of Indian exporters also corrected, primarily on demand concerns. If the virus continues to spread and results in a contagion in India, stock markets could face a sharper correction depending on the intensity of the spread,” says Nimesh Chandan, Head Investment Equities, Canara Robeco Mutual Fund. As we go to press, the BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty are down over 17 per cent this year. Small and Mid-cap indices, considered more volatile, have also corrected. BSE-Mid-cap and BSE Small-cap indices are down 15.56 per cent and 14.14 per cent, respectively, this year.

Though coronavirus is the immediate trigger, it has come on top of other worries, albeit not as deadly as the pandemic that has killed 4,000-plus people globally. The Indian economy has been experiencing a sharp slowdown for several quarters now with GDP growth touching 4.5 per cent in the September 2019 quarter, the lowest in

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