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Tuesday, Dec 21, 2004

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Pharma, cement, paper stocks find flavour

Sowmya Sundar

THE indices started the week on a strong note after a weak close on Friday and maintained the buoyancy throughout the day.

The Sensex ended 56.52 points up at 6,403 points. The Nifty closed 14.75 points up at 2,026.85 points. Pharma, cement, and paper scrips were the sectoral flavour of the day.

Among the Sensex stocks, the stocks of L&T, Infosys, HDFC Bank and Hero Honda were on the buy mode. The stock of Bharti Tele was the major loser losing Rs 3.9 to close at Rs 195.25.

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Reliance counters were volatile and remained almost muted despite the action in the rest of the index scrips. Reliance Energy has extended its buyback programme for a further period of 90 days till March.

Pharma stocks witnessed heavy buying especially in the mid-cap segment. JB Chemicals, Merck, Morepan Labs, Pfizer, Abott, Aventis Pharma, Divis, Elder Pharma, Glaxo Smithkline, IPCA, Neuland Labs, Morepan Labs and Wyeth were some of the major gainers. The stock of Nicholas Piramal, however, lost marginally.

There was more action in the mid-cap pharma stocks rather in the large cap stocks.

Cement counters were upbeat on rising demand from infrastructure activity in the country. Both frontline and mid-cap cement companies perked up. Madras Cements, India Cements, Prism Cements, Grasim, Shree Cement and Mysore Cements were on the buy mode.

India Cements stock gained 18 per cent to close at Rs 58. The company is to consider issue of convertible debentures and equity warrants. It is also rumoured that the company is scouting for a buyer for one of its plants. The company is laden with debt and the market has been rife with talk of a sell-off at some point of time.

Media Stocks too edged up on expectations that advertisement rates could go up. NDTV, TV18, Saregama, Creative Eye and Vine Vista were some of the gainers in this segment. TV 18 was up 20 per cent to Rs 232.

Sirpur Paper Mills, Seshasayee and West Coast Paper were upbeat from the paper sector.

Petronet LNG jumped 19.28 per cent to close at Rs 28.15. Traded volumes rose near 10 fold to 66.9 lakh shares.

Stocks that witnessed substantial rise in traded volumes were Ajanta Soya, Punjab Communications, TTK Prestige, IT&T, Sonata Software, Silverline Technologies, Titanor Components and Apollo Finvest.

After a smart run in the previous couple of weeks, the stocks of Voltas, India Bulls and Karur Vysya Bank took a breather after a hectic run-up. However, traded volumes were on the higher side in Karur Vysya Bank.

The stock of Sesa Goa has been edging up over the past few days. The rising demand for iron ore in the country and abroad has led to substantial price rise for the commodity in the global markets. Sesa Goa is expected to be a major beneficiary of the rising iron ore prices.

Select textile counters such as Century Enka, Zodiac Clothing, Indian Rayon, Mahaveer Spinning and Raymond edged up. Select stocks from the capital goods sector such as BEML, BEL and Emco Industries were gainers too.

UB has approved a strategic alliance with Scotish and Newcastle and the company is picking up a 17.5 per cent stake at a price of Rs 575. Over the past few days, the stock was on a steady uptrend. UB Holdings closed almost 10 per cent up at Rs 107.3. The stock touched the upper circuit filter.

Taj GVK has acquired new hotel property in Chennai. The stock has been on a steady uptrend over the past few days. On Monday, it closed weak at Rs 319, losing Rs 3 from the previous close.

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