India issued a tsunami warning for Nicobar Islands and alerted the coastal regions of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh following the quake during the last hour of trading, and the stock market was unable to sustain the gains it had begun to make just before that.
In 2004, a 9.20-magnitude earthquake off-Sumatra led to a tsunami killing around 2,20,000 people. Last year, a 9-magnitude earthquake caused a tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan, killing 19,000 people.
The quake today dampened the already cautious investor mood ahead of industrial growth (IIP) numbers to be released tomorrow and weak chances of a cut in lending rates by the Reserve Bank at its annual policy meet next Tuesday. Asian markets were mixed amid concerns of weak global growth and resurfacing of the European debt crisis.
Metals, consumer durables, refinery, capital goods and realty stocks registered marginal losses, although pharma stocks saw good buying support.
The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-scrip index, Sensex, resumed around 150 point down from yesterday's close and touched a low of 17,075.89. It finally settled at 17,199.40, down 44.44 points or 0.26 per cent. It had gained barely 22 points the previous session in dull trading.
The NSE 50-issue index Nifty fell 16.75 points or 0.32 per cent to 5,226.85, after dipping below 5,200 intra-day.
“A massive earthquake in Indonesia and tsunami warning led to a bout of profit booking from which markets again recovered (from the day's lowest level) in closing moments,” said Sharmila Joshi, Head Equity, Fairwealth Securities.