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Friday, Apr 02, 2004

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Sensex scores 150 on first day of new fiscal

Our Bureau

Mumbai , April 1

STRONG third quarter growth and perhaps the feel-good factor of a first-ever Test match victory in Pakistan helped lift investor sentiment in the stock market today. Institutional investors began the first day of the new fiscal year by helping boost the BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty by 2.7 per cent each.

The BSE indicator closed at 5740.85, a gain of 150 points from its previous close and the 50-share S&P CNX Nifty closed at 1819.65 compared with its previous close of 1771.90. For chart readers, both the benchmark indices are at their 50-day moving average implying further gains.

However, some dealers are a little sceptical of the rally. One broker said a longer rally could be preceded by a correction dragging the Sensex closer to 5550 levels. But the long-term remains intact, said another.

"The year has started on a good note. The third quarter GDP growth number of over 10 per cent certainly points to the fundamental strength of the economy," said Mr Sushil Choksey of Rosy Blue Securities. Mr Choksey expects long-term, quality foreign investors to bring more money in the new fiscal year.

Strong buying in auto, banking, technology and cement stocks lifted the market in early trade. Only ONGC and Reliance Energy among Sensex stocks ended in the red today.

That retail investors have still not entered the stock market in a big way was evident from the relatively low trading volumes on both the exchanges. However, strong delivery ratios indicated that the buying interest was genuine, said a dealer.

NSE auctions ONGC shares: The NSE has auctioned off over two lakh ONGC shares at an average rate of Rs 839 per share. The auction was for Friday trade, according to a broker. The auction price was at a premium to today's average price of the ONGC stock at Rs 829.25.

Stock exchanges auctions shares when a broker fails to deliver stock at the time of settlement.

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