190719  Bombay Stock Exchange
Trading has been brought to a halt at both of India's main stock indexes, after dropping more than 10% within minutes of Friday's opening. Image Credit: Reuters

Mumbai: Indian stocks have managed to erase most of their early losses in a volatile session - this after a 10 per cent crash in the main indexes on coronavirus fears triggered a trading halt earlier in the day.

Trading on the exchanges hit a "circuit breaker" a few minutes into Friday's session - the first time since 2009 - as widespread panic over the pandemic gripped global markets. The NSE Nifty 50 index is now up 4.60 per cent at 10031.50, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex is trading 4.77 per cent at 34340.45.

The volatility index had surged 44 per cent to its highest in over a decade. "I don't think this is a return of positive sentiment - markets are very volatile," said Sujan Hajra, chief economist at Anand Rathi Securities. "Markets are acknowledging that they are in the oversold zone so there is some buying support coming in."

The rupee, which earlier fell to a record low of 74.5075 against the dollar, reversed losses to trade about 0.4 per cent stronger at 73.99.

Opened to a crash

But early on Friday, India halted stock trades after a 10 per cent plunge on the nation's main indexes triggered the bourses' circuit breakers.

The S&P BSE Sensex gauge plunged within minutes of opening on Friday, falling to 29,687.52, set for the lowest level since 2017. The suspension will last for 45 minutes.

The NSE Nifty Index slumped to 8,624.05 in the nation's first such halt since May 2009.

"There's a global re-pricing of risk and India's getting swept up in that wave," said Rainer Michael Preiss, equity chief investment officer at the Global CIO Office.

"We are seeing broad-based capitulation," said Joel Ng, an analyst at KGI Securities (Singapore) Pte.

Stocks tumbled across Asia after the worst Wall Street session since 1987, with investors spooked that emergency fiscal and monetary packages won't be enough to stave off a recession. The slide triggered trading halts in Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea.