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Tuesday, Oct 19, 2004

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Oil cos tank under selling pressure

Shanthi Venkataraman

THE markets ended on a weak note on Monday, extending the loss that was witnessed on Friday. The BSE Sensex declined by 7 points or 0.12 per cent to close at 5679.83 points. The NSE Nifty saw a greater fall; the index declined 11 points or 0.50 per cent to close at 1786 points.

Earnings' announcements failed to prop the indices up. The tech stocks, which received a good bit of attention last week, took a breather. Oil stocks, particularly those of oil marketing companies, bore the brunt of selling pressure.

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The Sensex began on a positive note and remained strong for most of the trading session. It, however, plunged into the negative territory towards the later hours of the trading session. For every two stocks that gained, five declined, indicating the extent of the bearish sentiment.

The stocks of HDFC and ICICI Bank were the strong gainers of the day, advancing by 3 per cent and 2.44 per cent respectively. The stocks of Tata Power, Bharti Tele-Ventures, Wipro and ONGC were the prominent losers.

The stocks of oil companies took a beating on the back of the Government's decision to not raise the prices of diesel and petrol, even as the price of oil crossed the $55 mark. The stocks of HPCL, BPCL, IPCL and IBP were among the stocks that declined.

The stock of IPCL fell by Rs 11.85 to close at Rs 202.70, even as it declared a three-fold rise in profits for the quarter ended September.

Stocks of oil refining companies, with the exception of ONGC, bucked the trend. The stocks of Bongaigaon Refinery and Kochi Refinery ended the day in the positive territory. The stock of Kochi Refinery gained Rs 1.6 to close at Rs 194.25. The board of directors of the company is to meet to discuss the proposal to merge the company with BPCL.

The stocks of frontline IT companies such as Infosys, Satyam and Wipro, which were in the limelight last week, also succumbed to selling pressure on Monday.

The buying activity in stocks such as TCS, CMC and Hexaware Technologies, however, continued. The stock of Hexaware gained Rs 25.45 to close at Rs 516.95, even as it declared a 11-per cent fall in profits for the quarter ended September. The company has, however, raised its estimates for the quarter ending December.

The markets appear to have treated results with mixed sentiments. The stock of Balaji Telefilms appreciated by Rs 1.95 to close at Rs 99.8, even as the company reported more than a 20-per cent fall in profits for the July-September quarter.

The stock of Syndicate Bank declined Rs 1.25 to close at Rs 38.4, as it reported a 30-per cent decline in profits to Rs 75.58 crore for the quarter ended September.

The stock of Sterlite Optical Technologies also figured prominently on the gainers list, following its declaration of results on Saturday. The stock rose Rs 8.1 to close at Rs 65.75.

The stock of Shasun Chemicals also rose Rs 2.3 to close at Rs 426.2, following the announcement of its results.

A strong gainer of the day was the stock of Matrix Laboratories, on the back of its proposal to sub-divide its shares and issue bonus shares. The stock gained 9 per cent to close at Rs 1,850.50

The stock of Ind-Swift advanced by Rs 18 to close at Rs 208.40. The company is to issue 15,00,000 convertible warrants on a preferential basis.

The stock of Varun Shipping gained Rs 1.05 to close at Rs 30.95, on the back of its declaration of an interim dividend of 10 per cent on equity shares.

The stock of Nagarjuna Construction surged by Rs 7.45 or 2.7 per cent to close at Rs 289, following the news of it having secured four new orders aggregating Rs 226.9 crore.

Other prominent gainers for the day include the stocks of Eastern Silk, Taj GVK, Vardhman Spinning and Nicholas Piramal.

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