Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Wednesday, Apr 17, 2002

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Hindustan Lever, ITC pull down Sensex

B. Krishnakumar

WEIGHED down by the weak trend in Hindustan Lever, the BSE Sensex closed on a weak note for the second day in succession. After opening at 3459.08, the index never managed to gain ground during the day. It closed at 3413.72, down 47.79 points from Monday's close. The index lost close to 2.8 per cent in the last two trading sessions and touched a new two-month low in the process.

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Apart from the growing uncertainty in the political environment, the market sentiment has also been dented by the financial performance of the FMCG major Hindustan Lever. The scrip fell Rs 11.80, extending its two-day loss to Rs.13.75.

Apart from Hindustan Lever, the weak trend in ITC and Hero Honda also played a role in pulling down the Sensex. Trading environment remained lacklustre with Rs 1,220.82 crore worth of business transacted during the day as opposed to Rs 1,405.47 crore recorded the previous day.

Despite posting an improved financial performance for the previous fiscal, Hero Honda has failed to evoke positive market response. The scrip lost Rs 8.40 to settle at Rs 355.10. After some respite in the last few days, the share price of ITC resumed its weak trend on Tuesday. The scrip lost Rs 10.70 to close at Rs 633.85.

The damage to the Sensex was mitigated by the firm trend in Infosys, Ranbaxy Laboratories and Zee Telefilms. The share price of Ranbaxy Laboratories jumped Rs 23.20 to Rs 873.80 while Infosys posted a relatively modest rise of Rs 2.30. While Infosys just managed to close in the positive zone, Satyam and Wipro were confined to the negative territory. Wipro closed lower by Rs 29.70 at Rs 1,708.40 and Satyam saw its share price dip by Rs 2.35 to Rs 265.50.

However, a few software companies witnessed their share price seek higher levels during Tuesday's trading. The list includes Digital GlobalSoft, VisualSoft, Mascot System and Sonata Software. The share price of Digital Global gained 2.25 per cent to end at Rs 675.05 while trading volumes rose to 9.72 lakh shares from 7.93 lakh shares.

A sharp jump in the trading volumes were witnessed in counters such as Ashok Leyland, Rolta India, Tips Industries, Mukta Arts and Kotak Mahindra Finance.

The share price of Kotak Mahindra Finance shot up by 15 per cent to Rs 201.30. Trading volumes shot up to 4.56 lakh shares from 1.75 lakh shares. Much of improvement in price and volumes is explained by reports that the company plans to convert itself to a bank.

The share price of Mascot Systems too propelled to higher levels on account of new reports. The scrip gained 6.5 per cent to settle at Rs 228.6 on the back of reports that the company has bagged a $3.6 million dollar order. Trading volumes rose to 1.66 lakh shares from 36,970 shares transacted the previous day.

The recent upward trend in Goodlass Nerolac and E.Merck was extended during Tuesday's trading as well. The share price of paint manufacturer, Goodlass Nerolac, rose 6.7 per cent to Rs 151.30 while E.Merck went up by 2.83 per cent.

Companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Tata Engineering and NIIT were prominent amongst the losers list. After a smart rise in the last few days, the GlaxoSmithKline stock had to contend with a drop of Rs 4.25. The scrip closed at Rs 398.90. Trading volumes dropped marginally to 1.04 lakh shares from 1.08 lakh shares.

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