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Wednesday, Feb 05, 2003

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PSUs, bank stocks enliven dull market

Sowmya Sundar

THE stock market ended almost flat, as the uptrend in the State-run firms and banking stocks was offset by bearish trend in the index heavyweight Reliance and most technology stocks.

The benchmark 30-stock barometer Sensex settled marginally lower at 3278.13 points, shedding just 1.70 points. However, market interest got revived as there was a substantial jump in the number of shares traded on the exchange from 6.9 crore shares on Monday to over 8.4 crore shares. Gainers trailed losers 626 to 695, indicating a bearish trend. The broader 50-stock S&P CNX Nifty followed suit closing 0.50 points lower at 1054.80 points.

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State-run firms such as HPCL, Shipping Corporation, Container Corporation, Neyveli Lignite, Engineers India and FACT continued to remain firm in anticipation of quicker divestment. The Government has already invited bids for FACT and is to call for bids for HPCL soon. FACT shot up 19.89 per cent almost touching the upper circuit filter to end at Rs 33.45. The rise in the share price was backed by a sharp spurt in traded volumes from mere 433 shares to over 14,000 shares. Neyveli Lignite jumped 7.6 per cent to Rs 26.90 and Engineers India moved up 6.07 per cent to Rs 295.20.

Power and power equipment stocks too witnessed hectic activity on the bourses. Stocks such as Alstom, ABB, Siemens, BHEL and Tata Power strengthened. These stocks have risen slowly over the past two months on the back of improving fundamentals and rising demand for power projects and equipments. BHEL gained 4.04 per cent or over Rs 7 to settle at Rs 188.10. Tata Power edged up by 1.48 per cent to Rs 116.90.

Timken India jumped 4.68 per cent, backed by a two-fold increase in volumes. The company had released its results for the latest quarter. The bearing manufacturer appears to be on a revival mode after a tough year, backed by rising demand in the automobile and infrastructure segment, it primary target customers.

Tata Engineering too appeared among the favourites appreciating by 2.20 per cent to Rs 160.40, backed by a surge in trading volumes. The company is expected to release its monthly sales numbers shortly.

Escorts, a tractor manufacturer was in the limelight on the back of news that the company's subsidiary has sold its license for Punjab to another cellular player. The stock moved north 5.68 per cent to touch Rs 45.60. The spurt in the share price was accompanied by a manifold increase in the number of shares traded.

Banking stocks such as SBI, Canara Bank and State Bank of Mysore remained firm following the previous day's track while MTNL and Bharti Tele-Ventures bucked the previous days trend. While MTNL gained 3.34 per cent to close at Rs 112.90, Bharti Tele lost 5.15 per cent to Rs 29.45.

Technology stocks such as SSI, Satyam, Wipro, NIIT, Mastek, HCL Technologies, Hexaware and Polaris Software bucked the previous day's trend to close lower.

Lacklustre interest in heavyweights such as Reliance, ITC and Hindustan Lever negated the gains made by other industry majors.

Among the pharma stocks, Dr Reddy's, GlaxoSmithKline Pharma and Sun Pharma slid while Ranbaxy closed on a flat note.

A few other stocks that attracted buying interest were Tata Tea, Tata Chemicals, Elbee Services, Wimco, JIK Industries, Hindustan Organic Chemicals, Gujarat State Fertilisers and LML.

In the losers list appeared stocks such as NRB Bearings, Padmalaya Telefilms, Blue Dart, Lupin Laboratories, Shasun Chemicals, TVS Srichakra, Saw Pipes, Panjon, JK Industries, Nagarjuna Constructions, Subex systems, Sterlite Opticals and Tips Industries.

US-64 volatile: US-64 witnessed volatile activity on the NSE. After opening at Rs 7.65, US-64 closed at Rs 11; traded volumes were, however, dismal at 20 units.

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