As soon as the government announced a seven-day nationwide lockdown to flatten the rising Covid-19 curve, stock investors demonstrated their fear on Sunday through a massive sell-off at both bourses in Dhaka and Chattogram.
The lockdown and its economic impacts triggered the biggest market fall in the last one year as the broad-based indices fell by more than 3.4% while blue-chip indices suffered even a bigger fall.
DSEX, the benchmark index at the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), fell by 181 points or 3.44% to close at 5,088 points, which went above 5,900 earlier this year.
"It was a big fall in the market, which we have not experienced since last one year," said Bahauddin, a retail investor who trades from a brokerage firm in the Motijheel area.
"The announcement of lockdown and the market's free-fall have together reminded me of the bad days of March 2020 when 4% -5% falls turned to be a daily phenomenon," he said, adding that he is in fear of losing capital again.
EBL Securities wrote in its daily commentary, "Investors perceived that the economic activity may come to a halt due to the lockdown and fearing further fall of share prices they engaged in dumping shares."
"Despite the regulator's assurance, investor worries loomed and they decided to remain observant till the market reaches its bottom, ahead of an obscure future," said EBL market analysts.
Brokerage official Ashraf said the 66-day lockdown last year had a huge impact on people's lives, personal finance, and also on corporate profitability. "We hope this time it should end in a shorter period," he added.
Though overall market participation remained sluggish, desperate sellers increased DSE's daily turnover by 15.5% to Tk521 crore.
On the day, when DSE's total market capitalisation contracted by more than Tk15.3 thousand crore, only seven of the 324 DSE scrips managed to close in green, while 251 fell and the price of 66 others remained unchanged.
No sector withstood the selling storm while cement, services, and real estate and miscellaneous sectors observed 6-7% slides.
Meanwhile, the Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) witnessed its turnover increase by 195% to over Tk75 crore amid the free fall in indices.
The securities regulator and the bourses are trying their level best to discourage the sale orders driven by the lockdown panic.
After the trading hour on Sunday, the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission raised the limit of margin loans, which investors avail from their brokers, to buy more securities and analysts expect that it will provide some more funds to the market if investors are confident.
"I am still scared of the sell pressure that mostly ignores how pricey or cheap a stock is selling now," said Bahauddin who has been in the market for the last 15 years.