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Sensex drop more than 1700 points and Nifty more than 500 points

Indian stock markets fell sharply today in tandem with a similar selloff in other Asian markets over fears of a new South Africa Covid variant that could be could be more infectious than Delta.l

The Sensex fell about 1700 points to settle at 57,107 while Nifty slumped about 3% to 17,026. Just two stocks – Nestle and Dr Reddy’s – among the Sensex 30 pack ended in green.

The news of the new covid variant has hammered confidence in equities, which were already under pressure as traders prepared for the Federal Reserve to start tightening its monetary policy to fend off surging inflation.

In Indian markets, autos, banks and energy stocks were among the worst hit. The Nifty Pharma Index was the only sub-index bucking the trend to end 1.7% higher.

The B.1.1.529 strain has been blamed for a surge in fresh cases in South Africa and has already been cropped up in Hong Kong, with the World Health Organization due to hold a meeting later in the day to decide if it should be designated a variant of “interest” or of “concern”.

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