Participation in the equity market low amidst tight curfew
Photo: BL Soni

Citing shortage of broking staff, brokerage Motilal Oswal likely said it will take requests only for long-term investments from clients who have a healthy cash balance, according to a WhatsApp message doing the rounds on dealer groups.

"Volumes are just pathetic and orders have fallen to 15% of (what) they are on a usual day," said Ravi Jagtiani, chief dealer at Nirmal Bang Institutional Equities. Maharashtra, which has become the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in India with close to 100 cases, was placed under a total curfew on Monday. All district borders in the state are sealed, while public transport also remains closed. Several dealers and traders alluded to the fact that orders from domestic institutional investors were also quite low as they are understaffed at the moment. "I don't know why we are open and suddenly we are essential service... I am risking my life and everybody else's life by calling them to office," Jagtiani said.

Apart from daily essential shops, the state government has allowed stock exchanges, clearing corporations, stock brokers and depositories to remain open. So far today, total volumes for all Nifty 50 stocks in the cash market were at 224 mln, compared with the 60-day average of around 700 mln.

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